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Charles Butler hannibal at
Fri Jan 23 19:01:47 EST 2004

My beef is with the use of "which" instead of
> "that," which (hah!) is very wrong.  Not that I remember how to explain
> rule; I just hold fast to it as an example of pedantic grammatical
> superiority.  :)

Thanks for that answer to my question - telepathic too, since I think our
posts probably crossed!

The usual distinction is that you use 'that' where what follows identifies
the subject of the previous clause, and 'which' where what follows gives
extra information about the (already-identified) subject of the previous
clause. So:

The rope, which had been fraying for the last twenty minutes, finally
The rope that he brought was not long enough to tie the parcel.

This is one rule I do try to stick to, because it increases semantic
precision, though sometimes I put a 'which' for a 'that' if there are just
too many other 'thats' in the immediate vicinity.


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