Which and That?

Back to the basics with regular Challenge winner, Ann Grover. Weekly lessons to help you hone your basic writing skills.

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Anja
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Which and That?

Post by Anja » Sat Nov 08, 2014 1:24 pm

When to use which or that making trouble for you?

One easy rule is That is NECESSARY.
Which is EXPENDABLE.

If you want proper terminology...
That is used in Restrictive Clauses.
Which is used in Non-restrictive Clauses.

In other words, if you can leave out the phrase without changing the meaning of the sentence, use which. If it is absolutely necessary to the meaning of the sentence, use that.

The curtains are blue, which is my favourite colour. The focus is curtain colour, not my opinion.
The curtains that are blue are my favourite ones. I like those specific curtains.

The horse, which had broken the fence, ran down the highway. The horse escaped!
The horse that had broken the fence ran down the highway. That specific horse is the troublemaker.

Notice which is usually set off or preceded by commas.


A note about that.

Sometimes, it is possible (and preferable) to eliminate that in a sentence.

The meteorologist said that it would snow today.
The meteorologist said it would snow today.


Both are acceptable, but when you are counting words in the Challenge, get rid of the thats whenever you can. How do you know when you can eliminate it? If you are using the most common verbs of speech or thought. Common verbs like think, say, feel, know and the like are called "bridge verbs" and don't require "that."

He said he was coming for supper.
She felt the coat was too expensive.
They knew the roads would be bad.


These sentences would be perfectly fine with "that," but when you're counting words, every word counts, right?
Last edited by Anja on Sat Nov 08, 2014 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ann Grover Stocking

"What remains of a story after it is finished? Another story..." Eli Wiesel

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KatKane
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Re: Which and That?

Post by KatKane » Sat Nov 08, 2014 1:43 pm

Thanks, Ann!

I will certainly be putting this into practice as I draft this week's challenge effort. Thanks for the pointer about eliminating unnecessary 'thats'. I am forever adding them and then wondering how my word count has got so close to the limit.

Kat
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"If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write." Martin Luther

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