Another topic (was Re: Identifying with characters)

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Tue Dec 2 10:22:08 EST 2003

Robyn replying to Sallyo:

>>That depends. Some books (amateur detective ones, for example) have a
>>character ***who might grow older and remember what s/he has learned, but
>>they are still static in a way. Each mystery is approached almost as if it
>>were a single title, and the books can be read out of order.
>>*** BTW, how do you feel about using "who" with "character"? It probably
>>should be "that"... but that sounds stilted.
>Why would you use "that"? "Who" is for people, characters are people, right?

I spent some time and energy worrying about this for an essay a year 
or so ago.  The reason it was a problem was that in that context 
characters aren't people, but constructs.  I asked a few friends who 
are academics, and we all agreed that using both 'who' and 'that' 
sounded wrong once you started worrying about it, and I probably 
ended up rearranging sentences to avoid the issue.  Of course, this 
isn't the context in which Sallyo posed the question, but...

I'm procrastinating on *everything*.


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