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I'm writing a help document for an application and I'm unsure of the correct grammar for the following statement:

A confirmation dialog will then appear showing the number of items that will be modified by the operation.

A confirmation dialog will then appear showing the number of items which will be modified by the operation.

I've been reading & re-reading these statements over and over in my head and both seem to sound fine.

Is there a rule to determine when one should use that will and when one should use which will?

Many thanks in advance for your time.

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, Community Nov 26 '18 at 17:42

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  • I think I'd agree with you. "That" and "which" are interchangable here, though we don't normally use "that" if the relative clause is supplementary. – user178049 Nov 26 '18 at 17:25
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    In integrated relatives with non-human head nouns, it's a free choice between which-relatives and that-relatives. "The number of items that will be" and "the number of items which will be" show no semantic differences, and no syntactic differences other than what follows from "that" not being a pronoun. – BillJ Nov 26 '18 at 17:45
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You can also say

... the number of items to be modified by the operation.

... the number of items the operation will modify.

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