That/which usage : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC)
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# That/which usage

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10 Jun 2010, 09:05
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I have following two questions.

1) Please explain the usage of 'that' and 'which'
2 How do we decide when to use 'but,'however' or 'although'.

Examples will make it easier to understand. Appreciate your time.
If you have any questions
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10 Jun 2010, 10:24
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JoyLibs wrote:
1) Please explain the usage of 'that' and 'which'

"That" is used for essential modifiers, but "which" is used for non-essential modifiers. Non-essential modifiers can be removed from the sentence without losing the main meaning, but essential modifiers can't be.

The most memorable description I've read of this is from "Woe Is I," a quite readable grammar book. I'm basing my examples on the examples from that book.

Essential modifiers:
The mouse that was killed in the mousetrap is grey.
The contestant that went on to win the Spelling Bee is from Ohio.
Any house that has shoddy plumbing will usually have mold.

See what happens when the essential modifier is removed:
The mouse is grey.
The contestant is from Ohio.
Any house will usually have mold.

Note that the meaning is either lost (the death of the mouse), hidden (which contestant specifically?), or distorted (all houses don't usually have mold, just some)!

Non-essential modifiers:
The mouse, which is grey, is about to eat the cheese on the mousetrap.
Our house, which has mold, obviously has a plumbing problem.

Note that when you take the underlined modifiers out, the overall meaning of the sentence remains intact. The commas are another clue that the "which" modifier is somehow optional in the overall sentence.

For the record, with commas, a “who” modifier (i.e. like “which,” but for referring to people) is similarly non-essential:
The contestant, who is from Ohio, will go on to win the Spelling Bee.

JoyLibs wrote:
2 How do we decide when to use 'but,'however' or 'although'.

But, however, and although are similar in meaning: they all indicate a contrast or alternative. I’m hesitating to dictate a rule, because I think all three are probably used in a variety of ways, and I’d probably omit some exception.

However ( ), I think “but” is best used in mid-sentence (often following a comma), whereas “however” and “although” can be found mid-sentence but would also be allowed to begin a sentence.

I can’t recall any OG/GMATPrep question that splits on the choice or placement of this type of word.
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20 Jun 2010, 05:51
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21 Jun 2010, 09:41
Can we safely say that although and but cannot be used in the same sentence. Redundant?

eg: ALTHOUGH one link in the chain was demonstrated to be weak, BUT not sufficiently so to require the recall of the automobile

The sentence above might be wrong for other reasons as well but the use of 'Although' and 'but' together make it wrong ?
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27 Jun 2010, 11:57
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JoyLibs wrote:
Can we safely say that although and but cannot be used in the same sentence. Redundant?

eg: ALTHOUGH one link in the chain was demonstrated to be weak, BUT not sufficiently so to require the recall of the automobile

The sentence above might be wrong for other reasons as well but the use of 'Although' and 'but' together make it wrong ?

Maybe redundant, but more importantly the structure is bad. The "although" phrase is trying to modify a main clause after the comma, and the "but" phrase is trying to modify "weak." Where's the main clause?

Correct:
Although one link in the chain was demonstrated to be weak, it was not sufficiently so to require the recall of the automobile. (It = link in the chain, and is the subject of the main clause that now has "was" as the verb.)

Correct:
Although the engineers showed that one link in the chain was weak, but not so weak as to require the recall of the automobile, company executives decided to exercise caution and recall the vehicle.

I was trying to think of a case where using both "although" and "but" could be justisfied, and I think this one works. Why? Because they are used for different contrasts within the same sentence:
(1) the link in the chain was weak BUT not too weak
(2) ALTHOUGH the engineers thought one thing, the company executives thought another
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19 Oct 2013, 21:08
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13 Mar 2014, 17:45
Is it nescaary to use which/that near to the noun it represent???
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02 Jul 2015, 23:25
Nice explanation by esledge. Thank you!!

There's another post (same concept)

http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/that-vs-which-on-the-gmat/
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05 Jul 2016, 00:05
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

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Re: reference of which in a sentence [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2016, 04:20
Hello,

I am not able to identify, what is referred by "which" in a sentence.

The following is an example sentence(partially).Please help me in understanding, what is referred by "which" in that sentence.

1) Because of plunging prices for computer chips, which are due to an oversupply.....

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10 Jul 2016, 05:25
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prannai wrote:
Hello,

I am not able to identify, what is referred by "which" in a sentence.

The following is an example sentence(partially).Please help me in understanding, what is referred by "which" in that sentence.

1) Because of plunging prices for computer chips, which are due to an oversupply.....

In this Question(most cases) Which is structurally/automatically referred to Chips,seemingly illogical/incorrect(no clear antecedent)

Be careful
logically construction may refer another noun:

So, for instance, both of these (beginnings of) sentences work/correct:

New treatments for cancer, which is the leading killer of American adults over 65, ...>referred to "cancer"

New treatments for cancer, which are often too expensive for patients to afford, ..."....> referred to "treatments"

from what we've seen - if you have "which" following "noun1 + preposition + noun2", then "which" can refer to noun1 only if noun2 is grammatically ineligible. otherwise it automatically refers to noun2.
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27 Jul 2016, 23:05
esledge wrote:
JoyLibs wrote:
1) Please explain the usage of 'that' and 'which'

"That" is used for essential modifiers, but "which" is used for non-essential modifiers. Non-essential modifiers can be removed from the sentence without losing the main meaning, but essential modifiers can't be.

The most memorable description I've read of this is from "Woe Is I," a quite readable grammar book. I'm basing my examples on the examples from that book.

Essential modifiers:
The mouse that was killed in the mousetrap is grey.
The contestant that went on to win the Spelling Bee is from Ohio.
Any house that has shoddy plumbing will usually have mold.

See what happens when the essential modifier is removed:
The mouse is grey.
The contestant is from Ohio.
Any house will usually have mold.

Note that the meaning is either lost (the death of the mouse), hidden (which contestant specifically?), or distorted (all houses don't usually have mold, just some)!

Non-essential modifiers:
The mouse, which is grey, is about to eat the cheese on the mousetrap.
Our house, which has mold, obviously has a plumbing problem.

Note that when you take the underlined modifiers out, the overall meaning of the sentence remains intact. The commas are another clue that the "which" modifier is somehow optional in the overall sentence.

For the record, with commas, a “who” modifier (i.e. like “which,” but for referring to people) is similarly non-essential:
The contestant, who is from Ohio, will go on to win the Spelling Bee.

JoyLibs wrote:
2 How do we decide when to use 'but,'however' or 'although'.

But, however, and although are similar in meaning: they all indicate a contrast or alternative. I’m hesitating to dictate a rule, because I think all three are probably used in a variety of ways, and I’d probably omit some exception.

However ( ), I think “but” is best used in mid-sentence (often following a comma), whereas “however” and “although” can be found mid-sentence but would also be allowed to begin a sentence.

I can’t recall any OG/GMATPrep question that splits on the choice or placement of this type of word.

Hi esledge,

Great work. It helped me clear my very first doubt in my preparation. Can you please help me with one another doubt or say confusion!

How can I identify whether "which" in a sentence is modifying the noun which it follows immediately or the main noun, I mean subject of the sentence or the entire clause that precedes "which"?
Re: That/which usage   [#permalink] 27 Jul 2016, 23:05
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