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    #1

    Shakespeare was a poet that

    Hi,

    *self-made*

    'Shakespeare was a poet that wrote 154 sonnets.'
    'England the only country that uses pounds.'

    I would like to ask if I have to use 'which' in the above sentence or can I use 'that.'

    Thanks.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Shakespeare was a poet that

    In the first one you should use "who".
    The second one is not a sentence, it lacks the verb "be". Also, it's factually incorrect.
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Shakespeare was a poet that

    Although many people prefer who to that for people in defining relative clauses, that ​is possible in BrE, in my opinion.

  3. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Shakespeare was a poet that

    I accept that "that" might be possible, but I don't like it. It sounds wrong to me.
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

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    #5

    Re: Shakespeare was a poet that

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Although many people prefer who to that for people in defining relative clauses, that ​is possible in BrE, in my opinion.
    You're softening in your, um, maturer years! I'm with Bhaisahab - it sounds wrong to me, though it's frequently heard.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #6

    Re: Shakespeare was a poet that

    To answer your question directly, you should most certainly NOT use "which" for these sentences.

    I agree - I prefer "who" and would use it, but I'm not upset when others use "that."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #7

    Re: Shakespeare was a poet that

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    You're softening in your, um, maturer years!
    Then so were Quirk et al (1985), A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Longman. Their examples of relative clauses include They are delighted with the person that has been appointed, He is the policemen that the burglar fired the gun at, People that live in new houses ... , though they do say (p 1250) "When the antecedent is personal and the pronoun is the subject [my emphasis] of the relative clause, who is favoured.". However, they note (p 1251) "With the antecedent still personal but with the pronoun now object [my emphasis] of a verb or prepositional complement, there is a much stronger preference for that or zero [...] People (that) I visit/speak to.

    I expect that, like me, Quirk et al kept their brains alive with a daily dose of Phyllosan . It fortifies the over-forties, and stops their minds getting stuck in prescriptive ruts.

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    #8

    Re: Shakespeare was a poet that

    Shakespeare was a poet. He wrote 154 sonnets.

    It's a little unnnatural to try to connect these two facts into one sentence but if so, you could make a non-defining relative clause.

    Shakespeare was a poet, who wrote 154 sonnets.

    With non-defining clauses you must use who (not that). I really can't see how a defining relative clause is at all sensible. (But if it were, then that would be possible.) What is being defined?

    So maybe why you might think the original sentence sounds strange with that is because your brain is hearing a non-defining clause. No?

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    #9

    Re: Shakespeare was a poet that

    I am at a total loss as to why you see connecting a poet to the poems he wrote is unnatural.

    We create sentences like this all the time.

    X was a painter who was famous for his landscapes.
    Y was a neighbor who hosted wonderful summer barbecues.
    Z is a salesperson who consistently leads her district in sales volume.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #10

    Re: Shakespeare was a poet that

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    So maybe why you might think the original sentence sounds strange with that is because your brain is hearing a non-defining clause. No?
    This is exactly what I thought! So I asked the question of you.

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