[Grammar] who or that?

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nado92

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Could you tell me when we should use 'who' not' that' and 'that 'not 'who'?

Thanks in advance.
 

emsr2d2

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Could you tell me when we should use 'who' not' that' and 'that 'not 'who'?

Thanks in advance.

You use "who" when referring to people (human beings!) and that/which when referring to almost everything else.
 

corum

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The lascivious tree who we saw in the magic forest waved his luxuriant branches lustfully at Mary, and said: "You can fondle my foliage anytime, darling."

At first sight, this sentence seems grammatically ill-formed. After all, it violates the rule given by Quirk et al., according to which "who" requires a personal antecedent. But is this the right way or a myopic way of thinking about things? The problem we have at hand is one of pragmatic anomaly, under the worst of conditions. Most of us can conceive an imaginary world in a fairy tale where our beliefs of the real world are suspended and where some trees are treated as living entities. In many cases, our intuitions (linguistic competence) about sentence well-formedness are influenced by our powers of imagination. :up:
 
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