The only person who/that can read and write English well is my friend.

In this sentence why that is preferred?

  • 1
    Is . . . "that" preferred?
    – M.A.R.
    Oct 4, 2015 at 17:53
  • I believe it's to do with how the sentence is constructed. In your example, the emphasis is on an ability of your friend and that is appropriate. Change the wording, however: My friend is the only person who can read and write English well. The emphasis is now about your friend.
    – Joe Dark
    Oct 4, 2015 at 18:06

1 Answer 1


Who and that are also used as relative pronouns. In the defining relative clause, as in the sentence presented by the OP, you can use either who or that as a relative pronoun, but "that" is more informal; it's not a matter of preference.

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