95

There is no difference in meaning. There is a difference in use. Relative clauses—the sort of clause you use, “which is blue” / “that is blue”, which tells us something more about the noun referred to by which or that—are of two sorts: restrictive and nonrestrictive. A restrictive clause restricts the noun it modifies to what’s defined in the clause. The ...


34

You are correct, Copperkettle. Which can refer to the fact just described, even if this fact is described by a whole clause and which has no antecedent noun to latch onto. Every fluent speaker knows this. The SAT prep course is wrong. I don't know of an authority you can cite to "win" an argument, but I would be very surprised if standard reference works on ...


32

Which is ordinarily used when asking for the identity of a specific member or members of a known group: A: The government said they would release three prisoners. B: Which prisoners? There are over a hundred of them. What is ordinarily used when asking for the identity of somebody previously unknown. A: The government said they would release ...


26

What is canonization? It is an act. Specifically, it is the act by which the Church declares something—a declaration, then. What does the Church declare? It declares that a person who died was a saint. The Roman Catholic Church, for instance, recently declared that Mother Teresa was a saint. What happens upon that declaration (that is, immediately ...


24

I expect that "who" is used because a copyright holder can be a person, and there is no deeper meaning to it. To expand, YouTube handles copyright disputes automatically, and it probably wasn't considered worth it to have the system use different text depending on whether the copyright holder was a person or not. They would have had to have asked the ...


22

The idea that who can only apply to individual people is a misapprehension. Although which and that are more common, who is indeed sometimes applied to entities which behave like people, or are composed of people. “This will be devastating to state and local governments, who will be on the hook for mitigating the negative criminal impacts of getting high ...


21

It's not you. It's them. I'm a mathematician and native English speaker, and I don't understand that sentence. I think that they are trying to say that they use the symbol tan⁻¹ for the 1-1 function on ℝ which is the inverse of the restriction of the tangent map to (-π/2, π/2), and use the symbol Arctan for an extension of it to ℂ (which either is thought of ...


19

You should use that when the clause is required for the sentence to make sense, and which when the clause is not necessary. Consider the following examples: I would like you to hand me the pencil that is on the counter. Here, the statement requires that since the clause afterwards provides necessary information. We are having chicken, which is my ...


19

There are two types of relative clauses in English, which I shall call 'defining clauses' and 'commenting clauses'. They are best described with an example: Pilots who have dull minds seldom live long Pilots, who have dull minds, seldom live long. The first sentence is a warning about the dangers of having a dull mind if you want to be a pilot. The ...


18

As commented by @bytebuster, although there is a potential "rule" in play here, most native speakers are either unaware of it, or ignore it anyway. For all practical purposes I think the right level of answer here on ELL is No, there's no difference in sentences like OP's quoted examples. There are other types of sentence where they are used differently (...


16

The grammatical distinctions between use of which and of that are treated here; it was just the third question asked on this site! In which may head a relative clause in which the which must stand as the object of the preposition in. He put the book in that cupboard. There are four ways of expressing he put the book in as a relative clause modifying ...


16

I'd like to draw attention to the comma before which. Here the comma separates the two parts of the statement. Were the comma missing, which would refer to the bus. With comma the which refers to the whole first part of the sentence.


14

Others have explained why you can't simply omit the "that". However, in this case it would be idiomatic to omit "that is", leaving "There is so much at stake for many."


13

In this specific example, they are equivalent. But consider: Which car is blue? That car is blue. I'm not quite sure about that but I have a little hunch "which" implies a selection from a bigger set, while "that" may be used in relation to a completely unique item. Does any of your five cars have registration starting with U? I have one which is a blue ...


12

"You've lost your marbles" and "You're losing it" are both English idioms meaning "you are losing your sanity" or "you are acting foolishly". In general "marbles" is a slang term for brains. In context "it" in "losing it" means "mind" or "sanity". So "it" here does not refer to "marbles", but simply to sanity. Both phrases mean essentially the same thing, ...


12

Yes, which is fine with both singular and plural head nouns. Your understanding seems correct to me: the choice of singular or plural indicates what sort of answer you're expecting. Your sentence is fine.


11

As indicated by answers to Can “whose” refer to an inanimate object? on ELU, some people wouldn't be happy with OP's use of it here. I'm not one of them, and given how awkward it would be to avoid the word in OP's construction, I'd just ignore those pedantic prescriptivist grammarians who say it's wrong. Note specifically Peter Shor's answer on that ELU ...


10

This headline could be ambiguous, if the monument was of somebody else. He in that sentence does not grammatically have to refer to either Cook or Jobs. It could be completely ambiguous. However, the reason the Washington Post could use this headline is because they said: Cook says he's gay. Most people know that Steve Jobs died a while ago, so because ...


10

The correct word to use here is whose. "As far as I know whose is used for living things and which for non-living things" - that's not correct. We use whose for both living and non-living things (although some people think it sounds bad to use it with non-living things) and whose and which have different grammatical functions. Roughly speaking, which ...


10

It is always singular, and hardly ever used of humans (some people refer to a baby whose sex they don't know as "it", but others find that offensive). It is often used of animals, but many people use "he" or "she" if they know the sex of the animal. They is plural, and may refer to anything: people, animals, inanimate objects. Many people (including me) ...


9

In your first example, you have mixed up whose with who's. Who's is a contraction of who is; whereas whose is the possessive form of who or which, when used as an adjective. Who's that girl? Whose car is this? Melbourne is a city whose public transport is good. Who's that at the door? As for your other example, it's perfectly valid to use ...


9

That's the shop which sells elephants. This is an elephant which the shop sold ____ . In these sentences, the relative clauses have been marked out in bold. Each relative clause is like a small sentence inside the bigger sentence. In these relative clauses, I used the pronoun which. I could use the pronoun that instead. They are both okay for this kind of ...


9

You can't say with who, not even casually The word whom is dying out of English, but it's not dead yet. It remains in use in formal speech. In informal speech, people people usually replace it with who except when this sounds especially awkward. Many people aren't sure when to say who and when to say whom, but they recognize some familiar phrases that use ...


8

The short answer, I'm afraid, is 'no'. Whose each is not grammatically correct. I assume the phrase is referring to a list of elements, for which each element in the list has a pair (element?), and you are interested in said pair elements that exhibit a certain characteristic? The way I would word this would be: The set of elements where each element's ...


8

There is also a geographical reason besides most of the other points that have been said. I have a car which is blue. This usage is UK English. I have a car that is blue. This usage is US English. Apart from that, no difference whatsoever. The geographical line of distinction has become quite blurred on this now and people throughout the world use these ...


8

Which is used when there is a selection of choices, and you are picking one. What is used for a description, or if you don't know what the choices are. For your examples, it should be: Which car are you looking at? This is because you are probably next to your friend and have an idea of the selection of choices. Which bicycle do you like most? I'm ...


8

Your thinking is right up until step 4. The usual principle is that the case of a relative pronoun reflects its role in the subordinate clause, not the main clause. Of course, since that has the same form whether it's nominative or accusative, it's something of a moot point. However, you can see the principle at work in the fading but not yet completely ...


8

The answer your book doesn't want In English, as in many languages, nouns change form: rat   (singular) rats (plural) This is called inflection. In the example above, rat has two forms. These forms reflect grammatical number (singular and plural), so we can say nouns inflect for number. But some words inflect for other purposes. In English, for ...


8

A member of the public indeed refers to a "common person," as your intuition says. I'll clarify Sentence 2 for you: Thankfully for Microsoft, they [i.e., this member of the public] had good intentions and immediately contacted the firm [i.e., Microsoft] and arranged to hand it over. The sentence may be confusing, because the writer is using what is ...


8

Locative Adjuncts She plays football in the park In the sentence above, the Subject is she and the Object is football. What is that bit at the end, in the park? It is a Locative Adjunct (sometimes called a "Locative Adverbial"). It gives us extra information about where something happens. Usually, Locative Adjuncts are preposition phrases. In the sentence ...


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