That vs. Which
Want even more deets on That vs. Which? Click here to review. Or take a look at our entire grammar section for all the goods.
|AP English Language and Composition||Grammar, Syntax, and Conventions of Written English|
|Conventions||Demonstrate command of grammar conventions|
|Grammar & Punctuation||Grammar|
clause in a sentence...
...and “which” before everything else. Now, if the words “restrictive clause”
have thrown you for a loop, don’t run screaming just yet. We wouldn’t leave you hangin’.
A “restrictive clause” is part of a sentence you can't cut out because it restricts the
noun. Let's look at some examples, while simultaneously
giving you advice on how to handle your angry girlfriend.
A bouquet that smells nice will please your girlfriend.
Tickets to One Direction that put her in the front row will please her more.
In these examples, the word “that” restricts what we are talking about. We're not just
talking about a bouquet...
...but a bouquet that smells nice.
We're not just talking about tickets to One Direction...
...but front-row tickets to One Direction. Even better. Or worse… depending on how
you feel about One Direction. The word “which” is nonrestrictive. This
means you could excise a “which” clause from a sentence...
...and the sentence's meaning wouldn't change.
For example, chocolate, which has a lot of calories, would make your girlfriend happy.
Dinner at that nice French restaurant downtown, which would be expensive, would also thrill
your girlfriend. If we cut the “which” clauses out of these
examples, we'd still be left with meaningful sentences. Chocolate would make your girlfriend
...the fact that chocolate has lots of calories is just added information.
Dinner at Chez Nom Nom would thrill your girlfriend...
...the fact that the meal would put a dent in your bank account is just gravy.
How do you remember when to use “that” and “which”? Just think of it this way...
...you could throw the “whiches” out of a sentence...
...and even burn them at the stake if you’d like...
...and the sentence's meaning wouldn't change. Now, not only are you armed with the “that”
versus “which” grammar rule...
...but you have some good advice on how to deal with your irate girlfriend.
Good luck. You’re gonna need it.