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Usage Glossary: A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y


In general, who refers to people, and that andwhich refer to animals and things. That mayalso be used to refer to an anonymous group of people ("I want tocontribute to a group that saves dolphins").

Professor Thomas, who has taught at theuniversity for forty years, is also a ranger at the local statepark.

The whale that swam into the bay wassuccessfully returned to the ocean.

The plane, which flew at an altitude of 30,000feet, arrived in only 7 hours.

That is used only with restrictiveclauses, and which can be used with either restrictiveor nonrestrictive clauses, although somewriters prefer to use it only with nonrestrictive elements.

A factory that does not take care of itswaste stream may violate environmental laws. [restrictive]

After Suzanne left the factory, which isone of the most polluted Superfund sites in the country, she ranfor Congress. [nonrestrictive]

See also who/whom.

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