There’s quite a lot of confusion about that and which. These two phrases are sometimes used interchangeably, despite the fact that they’re not essentially interchangeable.
Traditionally, that and which could have carried the identical that means, and a few English dialects could permit for that and which to be swapped with out affecting the that means of a sentence.
Nevertheless, in American English, the grammar guidelines supply a definite distinction between the 2 phrases. By the point you’re carried out studying this submit, you’ll totally perceive the distinction between that and which, and also you’ll have the ability to use each phrases appropriately.
That and Which
As with most grammar guidelines, there are exceptions and exemptions from the usual methods that and which needs to be utilized in a sentence. To realize understanding of complicated phrase pairs, it’s all the time finest to begin with the fundamentals. As we take a look at tips on how to correctly use that and which, we’ll deal with easy, commonplace utilization.
That and which may be categorized into a number of totally different components of speech. Each phrases can operate as adjectives and pronouns. Moreover, that can function a conjunction and as an adverb. In the present day, we’re taking a look at how that and which needs to be used when they’re working as relative pronouns.
From Wikipedia: “A relative pronoun is a pronoun that marks a relative clause inside a bigger sentence. It’s known as a relative pronoun as a result of it pertains to the phrase that it modifies.”
Like adjectives and adverbs, relative pronouns modify different phrases. Adjectives modify nouns:
- I’ve a automobile.
- I’ve a purple automobile.
Adverbs modify verbs:
- I’m strolling.
- I’m strolling rapidly.
The primary distinction between adjectives and adverbs is that adjectives often modify issues (nouns) whereas adverbs modify actions (verbs). Relative pronouns additionally modify phrases, however they usually achieve this as clauses slightly than as single, descriptive phrases. Within the examples beneath, the clauses are italicized.
- Convey me the bucket.
- Convey me the bucket that has apples in it.
- The bucket, which has apples in it, is blue.
The distinction between the phrases that and which and the way they’re used as relative pronouns depends upon whether or not the clause they belong to is restrictive or nonrestrictive.
Restrictive and Nonrestrictive Clauses
Restrictive Clauses Are Obligatory
A restrictive clause is important to the that means of a sentence. For instance:
- I would like the bucket that has apples in it.
When you eliminated the clause “that has apples in it,” the that means of the sentence could be misplaced. No one would know which bucket the speaker desires. The clause is important to the that means of the sentence and is subsequently a restrictive clause. As a result of it’s a restrictive clause, it ought to take the relative pronoun that.
Nonrestrictive Clauses are Pointless
A nonrestrictive clause just isn’t essential to the that means of a sentence. In reality, it may be faraway from a sentence with out affecting its that means. For instance:
- The bucket, which is blue, has apples in it.
- There are apples within the bucket, which is blue.
When you eliminated the nonrestrictive clause “which is blue,” from both of the sentences above, the that means of the sentences wouldn’t be misplaced. We’d nonetheless know that the bucket has apples in it. Word that within the second instance, the nonrestrictive clause provides details about one thing that has already been recognized. As a result of the clause is pointless to the that means of the sentence, we all know it’s a nonrestrictive clause, and subsequently ought to take the relative pronoun which.
- Use that earlier than a restrictive (crucial) clause.
- Use which earlier than a nonrestrictive (pointless) clause.
The Straightforward Technique to Keep in mind the Distinction Between That and Which
I Wanted That
When you want the clause to take care of a sentence’s that means, then use that. A fast trick for remembering this grammar rule is the phrase “I wanted that.”
As a result of which can be an interrogative pronoun used to mark questions, it’s questionable. You’ll be able to take it or depart it. It’s not crucial. Consider the phrase which with a query mark (which?) to remind your self that if the clause’s presence is questionable and may be eliminated, then you need to use the phrase which to introduce the clause.
Exceptions and Notes
Listed below are some exceptions and notes to those guidelines:
- Which can be utilized restrictively when it’s preceded by a preposition. For instance, “The bucket by which the apples have been saved is blue.”
- Which is nearly all the time preceded by a comma, parenthesis, or a touch.
- In British English, there may be little distinction between that and which.
Has this text helped make clear any questions you’ve had about grammar guidelines? Do you will have every other questions on that and which? Do you will have any tricks to share for remembering tips on how to use these two phrases? Depart a remark.