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# "That" and "Which"

Author Message
Manager
Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 60

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24 Nov 2007, 02:45
I have noticed that GMAT test quite a few of these. I know the rule for which -- should refer to the noun that comes immediately before "which." But what's the rule for "That."

For the grammar pros out there, when you see the word, "that" do you slow down and immediately check which noun/main subject it refers to? And how do you know if its clear? I am asking because in my experience, my mind thinks its that its clear, but the answer choice says the opposite. How do you tackle? What's the strategy??

Thanks!
Director
Joined: 13 Dec 2006
Posts: 510
Location: Indonesia

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24 Nov 2007, 03:46
Hi,

I follow the strategy proposed by MGMAT in its sentence correction book.

Following are the excerpts on the subject from this book:

Essential vs Non-essential Modifiers (which vs that)

• Which is used to introduce “non-essential modifiers”.
• That is used to introduce “essential”modifiers.
• A modifier introduce by the word which can be removed from the sentence without the sentence losing any essential meaning.
• A modifier introduced by the word that is essential to the meaning of the sentence.

Punctuating essential and non-essential modifiers

• Commas are used to separate non-essential modifiers from the noun that is modified.

Amar
Director
Joined: 26 Mar 2006
Posts: 631

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24 Nov 2007, 20:09
aliensoybean wrote:
I have noticed that GMAT test quite a few of these. I know the rule for which -- should refer to the noun that comes immediately before "which." But what's the rule for "That."

For the grammar pros out there, when you see the word, "that" do you slow down and immediately check which noun/main subject it refers to? And how do you know if its clear? I am asking because in my experience, my mind thinks its that its clear, but the answer choice says the opposite. How do you tackle? What's the strategy??

Thanks!

Kindly look for restrictive clause ('that' as a modifier) and nonrestrictive clause ('which' as a modifer)..

There are some exceptions to this rule as sometimes 'which' can also act as restrictive.
Director
Joined: 08 Jun 2007
Posts: 573

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25 Nov 2007, 00:02
aliensoybean wrote:
I have noticed that GMAT test quite a few of these. I know the rule for which -- should refer to the noun that comes immediately before "which." But what's the rule for "That."

For the grammar pros out there, when you see the word, "that" do you slow down and immediately check which noun/main subject it refers to? And how do you know if its clear? I am asking because in my experience, my mind thinks its that its clear, but the answer choice says the opposite. How do you tackle? What's the strategy??

Thanks!

Adding my 2 cents for the "which" clause.
I have seen in some of the notes floating around saying that "which" should refer to the noun which precedes it . If not, its wrong usage.

While the above statement is true but there are certain other conditions where "which" can be used safely.
Sometimes "which" refers to the previous sentence in totality.

I stood 2 hours in the line, which pissed me off .
Here its not the "line" but the "standing in 2 hours in the line" pissed me off.
not a great example but hope it conveys well.
Re: "That" and "Which"   [#permalink] 25 Nov 2007, 00:02
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