Grammar : GMAT Verbal Section
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# Grammar

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CEO
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22 Jun 2007, 06:14
Shovelling snow is something which I do not prefer.

Shovelling snow is something that I do not prefer.

Is there anything wrong with either sentence?
If you have any questions
you can ask an expert
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22 Jun 2007, 07:16
bmwhype2 wrote:
Shovelling snow is something which I do not prefer.
Shovelling snow is something that I do not prefer.

Is there anything wrong with either sentence?

According to grammar books the difference between "which" and "that", is:
That - is used to definitive clause.
Which - is used as a general clause.

Ex.
All dogs that have three legs are easy to train. ("that" defines the group)
Dogs, which are easy to train, are also enjoyable.

In the case of the sentence in question, I believe the correct word would be "which".

Hope it helps, hope a grammar expert can provide more insight.
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22 Jun 2007, 08:28
I am in the same boat as you are. But after taking a short grammar lesson online, I came up with below conclusion.

Shoveling is something THAT I dont like.

Here, thei nonessential clause after THAT does not tell you information about the subject before THAT. If it did, we would use THAT.

For ex:

Shoveling is something that requires you to pick up a shovel and dig snow.

Shoveling is something which will make you feel better
Shoveling is something that requires a snow and a shovel (stupid i know).
Shoveling is something which will make the driveway look good.

Rule 2 That introduces essential clauses while which introduces nonessential clauses.
Examples I do not trust editorials that claim racial differences in intelligence.
We would not know which editorials were being discussed without the that clause.
The editorial claiming racial differences in intelligence, which appeared in the Sunday newspaper, upset me.
The editorial is already identified. Therefore, which begins a nonessential clause.
NOTE Essential clauses do not have commas surrounding them while nonessential clauses do contain commas.
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22 Jun 2007, 09:29

I totally agree to your explanations, but as you mentioned 'which' is a general (non defining) clause that can be omitted without weakening the sentence (the same with a non defining clause, i.e 'The mount Everest(, that is covered with snow,) is the highest mountain in the world.')

Shovelling snow is something (which I do not prefer).

without the defining clause does the sentence not make any sense, therefore the correct sentence is

Shovelling snow is something that I do not prefer.

by the way, you can bet that in any SC in which you have a 'which' without a comma, there is something else wrong in the sentence! cheers
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22 Jun 2007, 11:51
catgmat wrote:

I totally agree to your explanations, but as you mentioned 'which' is a general (non defining) clause that can be omitted without weakening the sentence (the same with a non defining clause, i.e 'The mount Everest(, that is covered with snow,) is the highest mountain in the world.')

Shovelling snow is something (which I do not prefer).

without the defining clause does the sentence not make any sense, therefore the correct sentence is

Shovelling snow is something that I do not prefer.

by the way, you can bet that in any SC in which you have a 'which' without a comma, there is something else wrong in the sentence! cheers

Great explanation. It is much more clear for me now.
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26 Jun 2007, 12:54
catgmat wrote:

I totally agree to your explanations, but as you mentioned 'which' is a general (non defining) clause that can be omitted without weakening the sentence (the same with a non defining clause, i.e 'The mount Everest(, that is covered with snow,) is the highest mountain in the world.')

Shovelling snow is something (which I do not prefer).

without the defining clause does the sentence not make any sense, therefore the correct sentence is

Shovelling snow is something that I do not prefer.

by the way, you can bet that in any SC in which you have a 'which' without a comma, there is something else wrong in the sentence! cheers

THANK YOU.
i also found some followup information.

That vs. Which
1. GMAT almost always wants you to put a comma before which. In other words, if you see which without a comma before it, it's probably wrong.

If the person you're talking to, or the person who's reading what you've written, needs that extra bit of information to know which noun you're referring to, we say that that extra information is non-restrictive.

On the other hand, if you need that information to know which noun you are talking about, we say that the information is restrictive. Again, this word is not really a good choice for clarity, and many teachers use the term "necessary information" instead

We need a comma before non-restrictive clauses and phrases but it is not needed before restrictive clauses and phrases.

Both the sentences below are correct according to GMAT, but have different meanings.
· Please go into the room and get me the big book, which is mine. (Ex: of non-restrictive)
· Please go into the room and get me the big book that is mine. (Ex: of restrictive)
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26 Jun 2007, 13:08
bmwhype2 wrote:
Shovelling snow is something which I do not prefer.

Shovelling snow is something that I do not prefer.

Is there anything wrong with either sentence?

On a side note, i made up both questions. Is there a rule for prefer? I know there is an idiom for prefer X to Y (two choices). In my sentences above, there are no specified alternatives. I think that it should be written as

Shovelling snow is something that I do not enjoy.
Re: Grammar   [#permalink] 26 Jun 2007, 13:08
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# Grammar

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