Which Which Is That?

which-vs-thatAs a writing trainer and editor, I am often asked about the distinction between the words “which” and “that.” Briefly, it is a stylistic preference, not a grammatical rule. Customarily, the word “which” introduces non-restrictive or non-essential information. The word “that” introduces restrictive or essential information. Given this, the word “which” always takes a comma; the word “that” does not.

Here is an example of “which” correctly used:

The article opens with a discussion of the proposed theory of conceptual change, which is grounded in three suppositions. (28)^

Rather than repeat the sound advice currently available about the distinction between the two words, I’d like to use this article to identify some of the finer nuances of their use.

Both words are relative pronouns. Like all pronouns, they must refer to a noun (called the antecedent). The noun to which they refer is normally interpreted by the reader as the nearest noun to the pronoun. This can sometimes cause confusion in scientific and technical writing if the word closest to the noun is not the concept to which the pronouns “which” or that” refer.

Here’s an example:

As largescale development increases, so does noise pollution, even in urban areas that are set aside for wildlife management, which challenges wildlife ecologists to find new solutions.

In the previous sentence, the pronoun “which” technically refers to the noun “management.” However, clearly the author intends the pronoun to refer to the problem of noise pollution. We can revise the sentence by replacing the word “which” with a noun phrase, like so:

As largescale development increases, so does noise pollution, even in urban areas that are set aside for wildlife management, a serious challenge for wildlife ecologists who wish to find new solutions.

The revision is a lesson in logic, requiring the editor or the writer or both to clarify the sentence’s expression. I find this to be a tremendous advantage of thinking carefully about words, their parts of speech, and their exact meanings. Ultimately, such thought leads to more articulate, clearer writing.

At other times, the relative pronouns “which” and “that” do not refer to words per se, but to concepts. At such times, we must summarize or restate the concept. We can do so either by capturing the idea in an –ing verb or by restating the preceding clause in a noun or noun phrase followed with the word “that.” Here are two examples:

Original, flawed sentence:

In the post-test, students’ scores in this section improved to 83%, which indicated that whatever the source or sources of their incorrect answers was in the pre-test, they were corrected by instruction. (38)^

In the preceding sentence, the word “which” does not refer to the 83% score. Instead, it refers to the concept of students’ scores’ improving. Here are two ways to revise:

Revision using an –ing verb:

In the post-test, students’ scores in this section improved to 83%, indicating that whatever the source or sources of their incorrect answers was in the pre-test, they were corrected by instruction. (38)^

By dropping the relative pronoun and turning the following verb into a participle, we eliminate the problem.

Revision by restating the concept:

In the post-test, students’ scores in this section improved to 83%, an improvement that indicated that whatever the source or sources of their incorrect answers was in the pre-test, they were corrected by instruction. (38)^

Note that if you do not wish to sound monotonous, you can always replace the word “improvement” with a synonym, such as “increase” or “progression.” Some people might object to having two “that” clauses in such close proximity to one another. Such stylistic considerations are good reasons to consider all of your options before settling on one.

After you have mastered the distinction between “which” and “that” as restrictive or non-restrictive, start looking at the two words as relative pronouns and think about the words to which they refer. Is that relationship technically correct? In other words, do the words “which” or “that” have clear antecedents? If not, think about which of these strategies you could use to clarify that relationship.

 

^From Chi, Michelene TH; James D. Slotte; Nicholas de Leedaw. “From things to processes: A theory of conceptual change for learning science concepts.” Learning and instruction. 4(1): 27-43. Retrieved from Google Scholar 31 May 2016. Some quotes modified for instructional purposes.

Comments

  1. BruceTusa says

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Fix various iOS system issues and salvage devices that are stuck in DFU mode or recovery mode, display a black screen or simply will not turn on, with this intuitive application

    Press the “Download Now” button to download iMyFone iOS System Recovery Keygen Serial.
    The whole process will just take a few moments.

    Mirror Link —> iMyFone iOS System Recovery cracked full

    – Version: 7.3.0
    – Company: iMyFone Technology Co.
    – Downloads: 1152
    – Download type: safety (no torrent/no viruses)
    – Status file: clean (as of last analysis)
    – File size: undefined
    – Price: free
    – Special requirements: no requirements
    – Home page: regnow.com/softsell/visitor.cgi?affiliate=22260&action=site&vendor=56732
    – User rating:

    Tags:
    iMyFone iOS System Recovery Full Version With Keys Latest
    iMyFone iOS System Recovery crack serial number
    iMyFone iOS System Recovery Keygen Serial
    iMyFone iOS System Recovery crack keygen serial
    iMyFone iOS System Recovery full crack

    More software:
    Renee PassNow Keygen Crack
    TemplateToaster crack install
    DraftSight Licence Keys
    Virtual Serial Port Driver crack serial number
    Studio 3T for MongoDB cracked
    повысить оригинальность любого текста
    Perfect IP Camera Viewer Keygen Crack – ?????? – ?????? – Powered by Discuz!
    Convert Google books to PDF, PNG or JPG
    What do you know? What don’t you know? – Lori’s Blog

  2. BruceTusa says

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Press the “Download Now” button to download RadiAnt DICOM Viewer crack version.
    The whole process will just take a few moments.

    Mirror Link —> RadiAnt DICOM Viewer cracked

    View DICOM files, add several types of measurement, such as length, ellipse or angle, toggle the negative mode and enable annotations with this efficient medical software

    · Build: 4.6.9
    · Developer: Medixant
    · Downloads: 3014
    · Download type: safety (no torrent/no viruses)
    · File status: clean (as of last analysis)
    · File size: undefined
    · Price: free
    · Special requirements: no requirements
    · User rating:

    Tags:
    radiant dicom viewer cracked latest, radiant dicom viewer cracked full, radiant dicom viewer crack hack, radiant dicom viewer serial number, radiant dicom viewer full patched, radiant dicom viewer serial number, radiant dicom viewer crack latest, radiant dicom viewer activator, radiant dicom viewer full version serial keys latest, radiant dicom viewer license code

    Other useful resources:
    Bluetooth Battery Monitor With License Key Latest
    Interior Design 3D crack and keygen free download
    Alteryx Designer crack files
    как повысить уровень оригинальности антиплагиат
    Sockspot | Never lose another sock!
    Download Time Commando Full Crack
    download google books
    download video from youtu.be
    Light Up Your Life with LED Inbouwspots | Green Building Group
    ГДЗ для школы
    Software Cracks Keygens
    How to repair missing or corrupt money_code_pp.dll

  3. BruceTusa says

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Press the “Download Now” button to download AppCheck Full Version Serial Keys Latest.
    The whole process will just take a few moments.

    Mirror Link —> AppCheck Crack Patch

    Real-time, context-aware protection against ransomware wrapped in a user-friendly interface, featuring alerts and advanced tools

    · Build: 2.5.25.3
    · Company: CheckMAL Inc.
    · Downloads: 1214
    · Download type: safety (no torrent/no viruses)
    · File status: clean (as of last analysis)
    · File size: undefined
    · Price: free
    · Special requirements: no
    · User rating:

    Tags cloud:
    appcheck crack, appcheck crack and keygen free download, appcheck patch, appcheck crack patch, appcheck license crack, appcheck crack fix, appcheck crack serial number, appcheck crack install, appcheck keygen serial, appcheck crack serial number

    Other useful resources:
    Elcomsoft eXplorer for WhatsApp Serial Keys x86/x64
    CAD-KAS PDF Editor crack for windows free download
    Octoparse with crack
    Антиплагиат исправить
    sobre – Hekima
    Download The Weakest Link keygen free download
    tool for downloading Google books
    download video from youku
    KLINICKI NUTRICIONIZAM – Ordinacija Petricevic
    Готовые домашние задания (ГДЗ) по разным школьным предметам
    Windows Software Cracks
    Repair missing or corrupt krdevui.dll

  4. BruceTusa says

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Click the “Download Now” button to download DSLR Remote Pro Cracked.
    The process will just take a few moments.

    An efficient and reliable software utility that successfully allows you to remotely control your Canon EOS digital SLR from your computer

    Mirror Link —> DSLR Remote Pro keygen crack patch

    · Build: 3.13
    · Build date: April 15 2019
    · Company: Breeze Systems
    · Downloads: 31611
    · Download type: safety (no torrent/no viruses)
    · Status: clean (as of last analysis)
    · File size: unknown
    · Price: 0
    · Special requirements: no
    · Supported systems: Windows 10 64 bit, Windows 10, Windows 8 64 bit, Windows 8, Windows 7 64 bit, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP
    · Rating:

    Tags cloud:
    dslr remote pro crack new, dslr remote pro full crack, dslr remote pro with crack, dslr remote pro update crack, dslr remote pro crack patch, dslr remote pro with crack, dslr remote pro cracked latest, dslr remote pro activator, dslr remote pro crack keygen for windows, dslr remote pro licence keys

    More cracks: here

  5. BruceTusa says

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Click the “Download Now” button to download SparkoCam Cracked.
    The process will just take a few seconds.

    A professional application that delivers an impressive collection of effects for live webcam streams, with the possibility to use Canon DSLR devices in webcam mode

    Mirror Link —> SparkoCam crack exe

    · Version: 2.6.7
    · Crack date: June 20 2019
    · Company: Sparkosoft
    · Downloads: 15020
    · Download type: safety (no torrent/no viruses)
    · Status: clean (as of last analysis)
    · File size: unknown
    · Price: free
    · Special requirements: no requirements
    · Systems: Windows 10 64 bit, Windows 10, Windows 8 64 bit, Windows 8, Windows 7 64 bit, Windows 7, Windows Vista 64 bit, Windows Vista, Windows XP
    · Rating:

    Tags cloud:
    sparkocam crack for windows free download, sparkocam cracked, sparkocam crack install, sparkocam cracked latest, sparkocam crack hack, sparkocam keygen free download, sparkocam keygen serial, sparkocam and crack, sparkocam cracked full, sparkocam serial keys x86/x64

    More software cracks: this way

  6. BruceTusa says

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Press the “Download Now” button to download FlowJo crack windows.
    It will just take a few seconds.

    A straightforward and efficient piece of software that provides you with an working environment to perform flow cytometric data analyses

    MIRROR —> FlowJo crack patch

    · Version: 0.7 Build 53
    · Patch date: Jun 29th 2018
    · Company: Tree Star, Inc
    · Downloads: 4674
    · Download type: safety (no torrent/no viruses)
    · File status: clean (as of last analysis)
    · File size: small
    · Price: no cost
    · Special requirements: no
    · Supported systems: Windows 10 64 bit, Windows 10, Windows 8 64 bit, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP
    · Rating:

    Tags:
    flowjo crack for windows free download, flowjo and crack, flowjo crack install, flowjo cracked latest, flowjo crack exe, flowjo crack patch, flowjo license crack, flowjo crack for windows free download, flowjo keygen free download, flowjo keygen serial

    Popular software: here

    More software:
    Blog Post Title – The JP Home, Inc.
    Антиплагиат повышение оригинальности
    Titulo de la publicacion en el blog – Tiempo de Vida Centro de Simulacion
    Download RollerCoaster Tycoon: Loopy Landscapes update crack
    Arthrose : ces facteurs qui augmentent les risques – ASDL
    Windows10 Tuner
    Скачать Total Network Inventory серийный ключ и кряк
    ГДЗ и решебники для всех классов онлайн
    How to repair missing or corrupt cudart32_80.dll

  7. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Push the “Download Now” button to download Netcam Studio crack keygen for windows.
    The process will just take a few moments.

    Monitor your home or office with multiple web cameras, as well as record the stream at predefined intervals, thanks to this complex application

    MIRROR —> https://serialcrackkeygen.com/cracked/netcam-studio-15356

    · Version: 1.7.2.0
    · Crack date: March 19th 2019
    · Company: Moonware Studios
    · Downloads: 29312
    · Download type: safety (no torrent/no viruses)
    · Status: clean (as of last analysis)
    · File size: small
    · Price: free
    · Special requirements: no requirements
    · Supported systems: Windows 10 64 bit, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012, Windows 2008 64 bit, Windows 2008, Windows 2003, Windows 8 64 bit, Windows 8, Windows 7 64 bit, Windows 7, Windows Vista 64 bit, Windows Vista, Windows XP 64 bit, Windows XP
    · Rating:

    Keywords:
    netcam studio keygen serial, netcam studio crack latest version, netcam studio crack patch, netcam studio crack latest, netcam studio crack keygen serial, netcam studio + crack latest, netcam studio keygen serial, netcam studio cracked latest, netcam studio cracked latest, netcam studio keygen free download

    More software keygens: this way

    Other useful resources:
    Guestbook – Ze da Calcada
    Как обмануть антиплагиат
    Jyutping Vowel Symbols – Dr. Cantonese
    Download Half-Life 2: Episode Two + Crack
    The cost of an E-book – Irregular Scouts
    Turn Off Windows Defender software
    Скачать Total Commander серийный ключ и кряк
    Download ace.dll to fix missing or corrupted DLL errors
    STUDY TABLE – JTC India Online Shopping

  8. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Press the “Download Now” button to download SkinFiner Full Version Serial Keys Latest.
    The whole process will just take a few moments.

    Enhance the appearance of your portraits by automatically retouching the skin tone, color and overall look by using this reliable app

    Mirror —> SkinFiner cracked full

    · Release version: 3.0.0
    · Release date: July 2 2019
    · Developer: PHOTO-TOOLBOX.COM
    · Downloads: 24662
    · Download type: safety (no torrent/no viruses)
    · File status: clean (as of last analysis)
    · File size: small
    · Price: free
    · Special requirements: no requirements
    · Systems: Win 10 64 bit / Win 10 / Win 8 64 bit / Win 8 / Win 7 64 bit / Win 7 / Win Vista 64 bit / Win Vista / Win XP
    · Rating:

    Tags:
    skinfiner licence keys, skinfiner cracked latest, skinfiner crack exe, skinfiner cracked, skinfiner keygen crack patch, skinfiner crack fix, skinfiner full patched, skinfiner full version serial keys latest, skinfiner serial keys x86/x64, skinfiner crack keygen serial

    Popular software: here

    More software:
    PETROLEUM CLUB SPEECH – Nigeria Oil Gas Monthly
    Повысить уникальность текста
    About Anna | Anna Marrian
    Download Endless Ages crack fix
    SDPP Aeronautica – Informacoes e Contracheque 2017
    Turn Windows 10 quickly
    Скачать EASEUS Todo Backup Home crack и keygen
    Repair missing or corrupt api-ms-win-core-appinit-l1-1-0.dll
    voglauer sideboard montana – freewardbird.org

Speak Your Mind

*