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Joined: 12 Mar 2013
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That/Which  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Sep 2015, 22:30
When To Use “That” and When To Use “Which”

Before I come on to the “that”/”which” rule, just a reminder that “who” should always be used when referring to people.

The boy who threw the ball.
This is the woman who always wears a black shawl.

When referring to objects, though, the rule for using “that” and “which” correctly is simple:

THAT should be used to introduce a restrictive clause.
WHICH should be used to introduce a non-restrictive or parenthetical clause.

If that leaves you more confused, read on…

A restrictive clause is one which is essential to the meaning of a sentence – if it’s removed, the meaning of the sentence will change. For example:

Chairs that don’t have cushions are uncomfortable to sit on.
Card games that involve betting money should not be played in school.
To our knowledge, it is the only body in the solar system that currently sustains life…
A non-restrictive clause can be left out without changing the meaning of a sentence. Non-restrictive clauses are either in brackets or have a comma before and after them (or only before them if they come at the end of a sentence):

Chairs, which are found in many places of work, are often uncomfortable to sit on.
I sat on an uncomfortable chair, which was in my office.
Why You Need to Use “That” or “Which” Correctly

Changing that to which or vice versa can completely change the meaning of a sentence. Consider the following examples:

My car that is blue goes very fast.
My car, which is blue, goes very fast.
The first sentence uses that – suggesting I own more than one car (and even implying my other cars might not be so fast). This is what happens if we leave out the clause and write:

My car that is blue goes very fast.
My car goes very fast.
The sentence’s meaning has changed: the reader does not know which one of my cars goes very fast.

However, the sentence using which simple informs the reader that my car is blue. We can take the clause out without losing any essential information:

My car, which is blue, goes very fast.
My car goes very fast.

We Shall Overcome... One day...

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Posts: 7099
Re: That/Which  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Sep 2015, 19:17
Also, the easiest way to spot the difference in th eusage of the two is use of "comma"..
that' will never be preceded by comma...
which' will always be preceded by comma unless used with a preposition before it... for eg.. in which..

1) Absolute modulus :
2)Combination of similar and dissimilar things :
3) effects of arithmetic operations :

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Re: That/Which  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Oct 2018, 22:22
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

Want to see all other topics I dig out? Follow me (click follow button on profile). You will receive a summary of all topics I bump in your profile area as well as via email.

April 2018: New Forum dedicated to Verbal Strategies, Guides, and Resources

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Re: That/Which &nbs [#permalink] 03 Oct 2018, 22:22
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