The sentence is below (standalone sentence, no context)

Bears often hide themselves in places ____ hunters can't find.

My teacher said the answer was "that/which". I feel totally OK with that, but am confused about why which is also applicable here.

IMHO, which leads a non-restrictive clause while that leads a restrictive clause. Since hunters can't find isn't an additional description of the noun places, which is not suitable here. And because it restricts places to those that hunters can't find, that should be OK here. Am I right?

  • The use of "that" vs. "which" is not as formal as you've probably been taught. Please see the linked answer in StoneyB's comment for more information.
    – Andrew
    Oct 5, 2017 at 16:25
  • Stylistically, preference would be (1) nothing in the blank; (2) "that"; (3) "which". Grammatically all are acceptable; some statements of the case would reject (3) for exactly the reason you described, but -- for better or for worse -- it can often be seen and heard in the wild despite that "rule". I had one high-quality linguistics textbook whose author almost exclusively used "which" there. I found it frustrating, but enlightening. Oct 5, 2017 at 16:29


Browse other questions tagged .