I've seen topics regarding this subject and people said "which" can be used in a defining clause - which is very odd to me. That's why I'm asking whether this usage is okay.


The soda which I drank had a strong smell. (Instead of saying: "The soda that I drank [...]")

The subject which I wrote about is of such importance. (Instead of saying "The subject that I wrote about [...])

  • 1
    You can use "which" or "that"; it's a free choice.
    – BillJ
    Jun 1, 2020 at 18:24
  • 1
    Or neither of them. Jun 1, 2020 at 18:30
  • (What @WeatherVane is saying is that you could drop the word which in both examples, and it'd be fine.) I do feel like the which in the second sentence "sounds weird". But it's not actually ungrammatical. Jun 1, 2020 at 19:59
  • 2
    The "which", which can indicate without specifying, introduces both defining and non-defining elements. The "that" that introduces a modifier doesn't work with non-defining elements because it's referent, even when unknown, is specific. Jun 1, 2020 at 21:18

1 Answer 1


The soda (that / which) I drank had a strong smell.

It's a free choice between a wh relative, a that relative and a bare relative.

Many speakers would prefer a non-wh relative, but it is only a preference; a wh relative here is perfectly grammatical here.

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