that which who n.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
That, Which, & Who: PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
That, Which, & Who:

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 23

That, Which, & Who: - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

That, Which, & Who:. Relating Your Clauses. Main Goals For This Workshop. 1. Identify how that, which , and who are used differently 2. Clarify the rules of usage, answering your questions 3. Practice using that and which in short exercises. “You want which one?” “That one!”

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

That, Which, & Who:

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
that which who

That, Which, & Who:

Relating Your Clauses

main goals for this workshop
Main Goals For This Workshop

1. Identify how that, which, and who are used differently

2. Clarify the rules of usage, answering your questions

3. Practice using that and which in short exercises

“You want which one?”

“That one!”

“Who was at the party last night?”

“She’s the girl who was at the party last night.”

When we’re talking face-to-face, that, which, and who are usually pretty clear.

Yet, for writing, we hear about all kinds of rules and can get a little confused.

some useful terms
Some Useful Terms

Clause = subject + verb (Every sentence has at least one clause!)

He is a boywho ate beans.

Subject = noun or pronoun = person/place/thing

He is a boy. Las Vegas has grown. Having bedbugs sucked.

Pronoun = a nouny function word that gets its meaning from a noun usually before it in the sentence but not always

I was afraid this might be boring.

It’s raining outside.

I need the pen that is in front of you.

Relative clause = subordinate clause = dependent clause = a clause that needs an independent clause to be grammatical English

He is a boy could stand on its own, but . . .

Adjective clause = type of relative clause that serves as description after nouns or noun phrases

who ate beans cannot because it’s a rel. adj. clause

Relative pronoun = a pronoun that also relates/links one clause to another

That, which, and who are relative pronouns!


Who is for asking about a person or describing/discussing a person:

Who is that over there?

Tom Hanks is the actor who starred in Cast Away. (adjective clause describes “the actor”)

Oh, she said who starred in Cast Away, but I wasn’t listening. (noun clause)


Whom is for asking about a person or describing a person who is a grammaticalobject, the person receiving an action. It is considered very formal to use in America!

Of whom were you speaking just now? (object of a preposition)

You may speak to whomever you wish.

This is not Tom Hanks, whom many havecalled a remarkable actor, just a silly drawing.


Whose is for asking which person owns something or describing a person or people by what belongs to them in another clause.

Whose shoes are these? These shoes are whose?

My friend, whose house burned down last year, is moving into her rebuilt home. Or . . . That is the new house of my friend whose house burned down last year.

Those whose questions have not been answered, please raise your hands.

FYI: If the whose is in the object clause, it can often be revised as a possessive noun:

I have a friend whose mom is a belly dancer. Becomes . . .

My friend’s mom is a belly dancer.



One of the nice things about who is that it has different forms depending on how we want to use it. Not so with that, which is used five different ways but never changes form.

That is a demonstrative determiner:

That book has a red cover.

The book has a red cover.

Your book has a red cover.

That is an adverb meaning ‘to the same extent or degree’:

I’m tall, but I’m not that tall.

He doesn’t hear that well.

We won’t bike that far today.

That is a demonstrative pronoun:

He puts the seat down without being asked. I love that about him.

That is a definite relative pronoun:

Malcolm Gladwell’s book that came out recently is about extraordinary people.

That also is a kind of filler/connector word called “strategic” or expletive that (Rodby & Winterowd, 2005):

That we are here is obvious. I believe that you are here voluntarily.

definite relative pronouns
Definite Relative Pronouns

1) Act as defined pronouns, looking to the nouns before them to get their meaning

Cereal that is really crunchy hurts my mouth.

2) At the same time, definite relative pronouns (who, whom, which, & that) are the subject or the object of their own clause, and

3) They relate clauses to each other

Cereal that is really crunchy hurts my mouth.

find the definite relative pronouns from rodby winterowd 2005 p 173
Find the definite relative pronouns (from Rodby & Winterowd, 2005, p.173):

1. Spot always guarded the bowl that contained his supper.

2. Jane gave the boy who lived next door his first kiss.

3. Dick bought the motorized scooter which he had saved for.

4. Father admired the woman whom the voters had elected.





When a definite relative pronoun is the object in its own clause, very often people will leave it out.

strategic or expletive that
“Strategic” or Expletive That

This use of that is purely as a clause linker and is needed to embed or connect a noun clause that is a subject:

That the Internet will not go out of fashion seems obvious.

It seems obvious that the Internet will not go out of fashion.

The that is optional in noun clauses that are objects.

Some people once believed (that) the Internet was a fad.

I see (that) you have excellent taste.

strategic or expletive that1
“Strategic” or Expletive That

While optional for noun clauses that are objects, “strategic that” helps readers keep the clauses distinct:

I understood you . . .(just seems like “I” is listening)

I understood that you . . . (We can tell right away that “I” once believed something about “you” but now thinks differently!)

Which and who can’t be switched in for a “strategic that”:

That I have been mistaken for Amanda is funny to me.

*Which I have been mistaken for Amanda is funny to me.

*Who I have been mistaken for Amanda is funny to me.

identify strategic that and demonstrative that rodby winterowd 2005 p 150
Identify “strategic” that and “demonstrative that”(Rodby & Winterowd, 2005, p. 150):


  • That made me think that life is worth living.
  • Gourmets know that Julia Child wrote that cookbook.
  • “What is irritating about love is that it is a crime that requires an accomplice.” (Charles Baudelaire)
  • “The reason that lovers never weary each other is because they are always talking about themselves.” (François de la Rochefoucauld)





Which, of course, is a question word about things, including groups of people:

Which movie do you want to see? Which team is yours?

And which is a relative pronoun and a relative adjective categorized like that.

But trouble starts when which gets used the same way as that: Avataristhe movie whicheveryone claims to have seen by now.

To avoid confusion, it helps to use that for restrictive relative clauses and which for nonrestrictive clauses with commas.

restri wha

Restrictive relative clause = defining = essential clause—limits the meaning of a noun to the definition of the description.

People who live in glass houses are exhibitionists.

Malcolm Gladwell’s book that came out recently is about extraordinary people.

The comment that you made in class yesterday was very intriguing.

Using no commas around the relative clause starting with that is the surest way to show the clause is defining the noun.

Nonrestrictive relative clause = nondefining = nonessential clause—merely adds information and does not define the noun

People who live in glass houses, which I’ve never heard of actually happening, would probably be cold here in Washington.

Your comment yesterday, which you didn’t plan, riled up the class.

Using commas before and after the relative clause starting with which or who is the surest way to show the clause is nondefining.

which helps because
,which . . . , helps because . . .

It gives a fall-back position when meaning needs to be very clear.

select Language Debates: “That vs. Which”

to review
To Review:
  • Whois a relative pronoun for people.

Who=subject, whom=object, whose=possession

  • Thatis (among other things) a definite relative pronoun for defining the thing just before it and for linking clauses.
  • Whichis also a relative pronoun, but it is best used for linking nonrestrictive clauses.

Azar, B. (2000). Chartbook A Reference Grammar: Understanding and Using English Grammar. 3rd ed. White Plains, NY: Pearson.

Hacker, D. (2009). A Writer’s Reference with Exercises.6th ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Rodby, J. & W. R. Winterowd. (2005). The Uses of Grammar. New York: Oxford UP.

Strunk, W. & E.B. White. (2000). The Elements of Style. 4th ed. San Francisco: Longman.

That. (1987). Webster’s New World Dictionary. New York: Warner Books.

Which. (1996). Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language. New York: Gramercy.