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 ...


23

This is a very good question. Let me start by saying there are 2 kinds of relative clauses: defining and non-defining. If you put a comma before "who," it will mean that you are giving extra information about your sister. In this case the relative clause (who (had) just got back from Japan) doesn't define or classify the noun (sister), the main clause ...


21

It is a bad question that doesn't test English skills and so should be ignored. I believe the questioner wants you to notice the difference between: Amanda, who lives in New York and my brother who doesn't [live in New York] The first, with a comma, is a non-restrictive relative clause. It describes Amanda. The second, without a comma, is a ...


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 (...


18

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 ...


16

The first requires the pitch on sons to remain level, while the second requires it to fall. Additionally, there is a pause after sons in the second. The reason is that, in the second, He had four sons is a viable sentence on its own, and the nonrestrictive relative clause merely adds additional information. In the first, the restrictive relative clause is an ...


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 ...


13

a. They threw me in a cage like an animal. Is just fine. Brief, to the point, not a lot of room for the reader to get the wrong message. The others are still OK, but progressively less to the point. Even though there is potential for confusion of intent, the overall imagery is simple enough to grasp at first read. Whether the reader considers the throwing ...


12

There's nothing wrong with that which here. You are mistaken in your belief that that must be employed with restrictive relative clauses: both that and wh- relatives may be used in this context. The idea of employing only that with restrictive relatives was first advanced in 1851, at a time when grammar-writers were inclined to rationalize the language. It ...


11

Sentences Imagine a long piece of writing. If you look at the grammar, you will see that everything is organised into 'chunks'. So if we look at the very, very small chunks, we have different parts of words that have different meanings. Look at this word: replayed We can break this word into three bits. We have re which means again. We have play. And we ...


9

I followed the link to the test. Although I couldn't see the test itself, I was able to locate the answers and then some further discussion (which, unfortunately, just makes everything worse): This question asked whether it was possible to ascertain the sex of Evelyn from the following sentence: “I should like to introduce you to my sister Amanda, ...


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

Without the commas, the "which" becomes a restrictive clause: it's there to tell you which University of St. Andrews the sentence is talking about, i.e. it's implying that there is more than one such university. Since that's presumably not true (there's only one University of St. Andrews), you have to put in the commas to make the "which" part into a simple ...


6

A restrictive relative clause may use either that or the appproriate wh- form as relativizer—or, in some circumstances, no relativizer. None is "better" or "worse" than the others: it's a free stylistic choice. Consequently, you may write any of the following: Catholics were aligned with Southerners in the Democratic Party at midcentury, a ...


6

The use of these words (as relative pronouns) is pretty much indistinguishable. However, as the type of speech changes (because would you really think that 'which pony do you like' and think it means the same as 'that pony do you like') the rules start to diverge.


6

"That that" is acceptable grammatically, but it doesn't "sound good", and so should be avoided. Native speakers would probably prefer to avoid even coming near that construction, saying instead "of the two, the male is more brightly-colored" or "the male is the one with the brighter coloring". There is a lot of formal phrasing in English that ...


6

The comma can be used to introduce a pause in the sentence. If the narrator only intended to say the first half at first, but then adds the second as an afterthought. In cases like that, you can even find They threw me in a cage. Like an animal. in literature. Take note though that this would only occur if you want to emulate speech. It would not be ...


5

The comma is exactly what you use to avoid ambiguity. In the case of your first example, the absence of a comma before which marks the which-clause as restrictive—that is, the sentence refers only to those [files from the inquiry] containing embarrassing material. It is called restrictive because the sentence's reference is restricted or limited to those ...


5

It doesn't look like anybody really understood your questions. You're asking about "which" and "that" as relative pronouns. The difference is that "that" refers directly to the element it follows, so "I have a car that is blue" would be correct, because you're referring to the car. On the other hand, "which" refers to the situation it follows: "I have a ...


5

If you're confused about that versus which, don't feel bad. It's one of the most common topics people ask me about. I used to work as a technical writer, and I'd often edit documents in which people used the wrong word. More than once, I'd put in the right word, only to have clients change a perfectly fine that to a which and send it back to me.Here's an ...


5

1) PRON You use that to refer back to an idea or situation expressed in a previous sentence or sentences. They said you particularly wanted to talk to me. Why was that?... Hey, is there anything the matter with my sisters?' -Is that why you're phoning?'... Some members feared Germany might raise its interest rates on Thursday. That could have set the scene ...


4

You use which in questions when there are two or more possible answers or alternatives. Which do they want me to do, declare war or surrender?... Which are the ones you really like? Which are the good adverts for you? DET-QUEST Which is also a determiner. Which woman or man do you most admire?... You go down that passageway over there.' -Which one?'... ...


4

to Benedict, my brother who doesn't, This is the clue. If it would have been to Benedict, my brother, who doesn't, Then he may have been the only brother the speaker has. However, because there is no comma, the who doesn't is restrictive: in this case it describes an essential property of this specific brother. Since there is such a description for ...


4

You must have either two commas or none. If you mean that it is specifically your broken chair which is made of wood, and you are not talking about any of your other chairs, then which is broken is not set off with commas: it is a restrictive clause, which tells the reader that you are only talking about that particular chair. If you mean merely that the ...


4

What is involved here is the distinction between restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses. A restrictive relative clause is called that because the clause restricts the scope of what is said about the noun or noun phrase it modifies. It specifies which noun is meant. In your case, if which is inserted into the hole close by her is a restrictive ...


4

MMacD is correct that some of the language sounds "formal" but I think mistaken to suggest people who talk this way are "putting on airs". A native speaker might use these structures in academic writing, which is naturally fairly formal. Moreover, academics might write this way because it mirrors their train of thought -- in other words, they are writing ...


3

We put adjectives which have explicit complements after the noun they modify so the complement comes immediately after the adjective: ... items that other users similar to the active user have liked ...


3

Your use of the [Services (that) we provide] constitutes the subject-matter of the contract. No, you should not separate "we provide" by commas, because it is a restrictive relative clause. It is too tightly bound with the word "services". You can separate by commas a non-restrictive relative clause - a clause that provides additional information: Your ...


3

I'm not sure, but I think this is an excerpt from construction rules of a polygon. The by...which clause you have is neither grammatically correct nor meaningful. It can be one of these: After that, polygon edges are extended and intersected by which we get closed polygon. After that, polygon edges are extended and intersected which leads to a ...


3

Sentence A means the department destroyed all the files from the inquiry, and those files contained embarrassing material. Sentence B means the department destroyed only those files found during the investigation that contained embarrassing material; other files found during the investigation were not destroyed. In sentence A, which introduces a ...


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