Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. Newbie
    Student or Learner

    • Join Date: Jun 2007
    • Posts: 4
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    What is the difference usage between them?

    what is the difference between the word "which" and "that"
    thank you!

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: What is the difference usage between them?

    Welcome, dutich.

    In North American English, that is used for retrictive clauses (it restricts the meaning of the noun it modifies), whereas which is used for non-restrictive clauses (it doesn't restrict the meaning of the noun it modifies). For example,

    [1] A suitcase that has no handles is useless.
    A restrictive clause is an essential part of the sentence it sits within. Omit it and the sentence changes in meaning:

    [2] A suitcase is useless. <Are suitcases really useless?>
    A non-restrictive clause is not an essential part of the sentence it sits within. Omit it and the sentence doesn't change in meaning, because which means by the way:

    [3] The broken suitcase, which (by the way) also has no handles, is useless.
    Now, let's omit the non-restrictive clause:

    [4] The broken suitcase is useless.
    The sentence's core meaning doesn't change.


    Does that help so far?

    Try here also, World Wide Words: Which versus that

  3. Newbie
    Student or Learner

    • Join Date: Jun 2007
    • Posts: 4
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: What is the difference usage between them?

    Thank you sir,it is helpful,i get it,good luck.

  4. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: What is the difference usage between them?

    That's great. Glad I could help.

  5. tareq10's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Egypt
      • Current Location:
      • Egypt

    • Join Date: Feb 2009
    • Posts: 176
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #5

    Re: What is the difference usage between them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Welcome, dutich.

    In North American English, that is used for retrictive clauses (it restricts the meaning of the noun it modifies), whereas which is used for non-restrictive clauses (it doesn't restrict the meaning of the noun it modifies). For example,
    [1] A suitcase that has no handles is useless.
    A restrictive clause is an essential part of the sentence it sits within. Omit it and the sentence changes in meaning:
    [2] A suitcase is useless. <Are suitcases really useless?>
    A non-restrictive clause is not an essential part of the sentence it sits within. Omit it and the sentence doesn't change in meaning, because which means by the way:
    [3] The broken suitcase, which (by the way) also has no handles, is useless.
    Now, let's omit the non-restrictive clause:
    [4] The broken suitcase is useless.
    The sentence's core meaning doesn't change.


    Does that help so far?

    Try here also, World Wide Words: Which versus that
    if we said, the suitcase which has no handle is useless. would it be wrong and why


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #6

    Re: What is the difference usage between them?

    Yes, it is wrong.
    The suitcase which has no handle is useless.
    You are indicating the particular suitcase that is useless - it is the one without a handle, so that the sentence should be:
    The suitcase that has no handle is useless.

    Have a look at this and see if it helps:
    "I have the book that you need."
    "I have a first edition of the book, which I suspect is no longer available."


    What you need to keep in mind is the idea of restrictive versus non-restrictive clauses, which translates to "necessary" versus "helpful but non-essential."
    In the first sentence, the speaker is referring to a very specific book - 'the one that you need" out of all the books he may have. We are therefore restricting, from all the titles of books in the world, our attention down to just one. - Yes, you have books, but is it the one I need? The extra information is 'necesssary.'
    Compare the second sentence:
    The clause beginning 'which' is non-restrictive and adds some extra interesting information ...but it is not necessary to identify the book: we know it's a first edition. The second clause adds that all first editions are possibly no longer available through commercial channels.

    NOTE: no comma is used with 'that', but the main clause is separated with a comma when we use 'which'.

    In a sentence such as "The company that invented the microchip we use invited us to a demonstration," the word "that" is relative to "company." There are thousands of companies in the world, but it is important to know the "company that invented the microchip" is specifically the one holding the demonstration. In that sense, the relative clause beginning with 'that' would be considered restrictive, since it is an essential piece of information that identifies the company. You would not write "The company which invented the microchip invited us to a demonstration." in formal writing.

    'Which' could be used in a similar sentence constructed this way: "Widgets Incorporated, which invented the microchip we use, has officially declared bankruptcy." In this sentence, the relative clause 'which invented the microchip we use' is separated by commas. The information about the microchip is useful, but not essential to the main idea of the sentence. It could be removed and the sentence would still make sense. If the relative clause can be removed without changing the sentence's meaning, it would be considered non-restrictive.

    "The storage building that once stood on the corner has collapsed," would be correct, since the relative clause 'that once stood on the corner' is restrictive and essential - it tells us the specific building in terms of its location - so it would need a restrictive clause beginning with "that." A correct sentence using "which" would read like this: "The Olsen building, which stood on the corner of 12th and Vine Streets, has been torn down." The sentence could still be understood without the non-restrictive clause beginning with 'which'.


    In short, whenever the information is essential to identifying the subject, the proper pronoun to use is 'that'. If the information is not essential, or can be set apart with commas, then the pronoun 'which' is more likely to be correct.
    If the meaning of the sentence would be lost without the information, then it is most likely restrictive and 'that' would be the proper pronoun to use.


    • Join Date: Feb 2008
    • Posts: 484
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #7

    Re: What is the difference usage between them?

    Quote Originally Posted by tareq10 View Post
    if we said, the suitcase which has no handle is useless. would it be wrong and why
    No, it wouldn't be*. The following comes from the site recommended by Casiopea:

    "One key proviso: though you can use which instead of that in restrictive clauses, you can’t do so the other way round: non-restrictive clauses ought always to start with which."

    If you haven't clicked on this site, you should do so. It will help you.

    Moreover, as Casiopea says, that in restrictive clauses is more often the case in North American English.

    *Naomi Malan, "La proposition relative en anglais contemporain", Ophrys Paris/Gap, 1999.

  6. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,035
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #8

    Re: What is the difference usage between them?

    The 'which/that':non-restrictive/restrictive rule is mandatory in Am E but optional in Br E. Some teachers prefer to require the distinction, but most modern textbooks don't.

    Personally, I try to observe the distinction but don't get upset when other people don't. My mind has a sort of WinWord red line, which I try to ignore (like so many of the features of the WinWord netNanny)!

    b

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 19-Jun-2006, 18:09
  2. Difference between the usage of a and the
    By anirban_mittra in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 25-Feb-2006, 15:34
  3. usage and use
    By jiang in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 12-Apr-2004, 05:27

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •