LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||23/NOV/2010 11:53 PM|
Thanks for the correction, José Roberto. I've just made a quick research and it seems that lots of grammar books recommend using "who" or "that" for restrictive clauses (the ones with commas) and "who" for non-restrictive clauses (the one with no commas). This information is new to me, so I'm glad you pointed it out.
I've also found out that the question we're discussing is a point of dispute between grammarians. In case you guys are interested, I'll paste a fragment from Wikipedia that illustrates this dispute:
The distinction between the relative pronouns that and which to introduce relative clauses with non-human antecedents, and that vs. who for human antecedents, is a frequent point of dispute. Of the two, only which is at all common in non-restrictive clauses. The dispute mainly concerns restrictive clauses: in informal American speech and in formal and informal British English that or which are both commonly (and apparently arbitrarily) used, but in formal American English, references generally specify only that, or reduction to a zero relative pronoun. This rule was championed in 1926 by H.W. Fowler, who observed, "Some there are who follow this principle now; but it would be idle to pretend that it is the practice either of most or of the best writers." Some academics, such as Stanford linguist Arnold Zwicky, maintain it is "a silly idea," but in the U.S., the Chicago Manual of Style and other mainstream references insist on it, and most professional writers adhere to it.
The style guide Words into Type offers the rule of thumb that "when a comma can be inserted, the word is which." A simple test is to consider whether the clause is essential to the meaning of the sentence and whether removing it significantly changes the meaning of the sentence; if so, use that. For example: The pitch that changed the outcome of the game came in the eighth inning. The fateful pitch, which came on a 2-1 pitch, struck the batter.
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