RE: Which, that grammar

Subject: RE: Which, that grammar
From: Bill Burns <bill_burns -at- lionbridge -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 11:06:47 -0700

Hi, Pat.

> Speaking as an editor, the correct word choice is "that." I use "which"
> only when it is preceded by a comma or if "that" has already been used in
> the sentence. (I know that some instances of "which" not preceded by a
> comma are correct, although that usage seems to have fallen out of style.)
You have the right rule, but I think it's misapplied for at least one of the

If an election is submitted with a tender price which has already
been bid on,
the elected units from that election are added to what is already

In this case, the syntax obscures the underlying grammer, so it LOOKS like a
restrictive clause, but it's really not. If you move the particle "on,"
you'll see what I mean.

If an election on which a tender price has already been bid is

As Ed noted, not a particularly well-written sentence, but it would change
the nature of the clause.

As far as MS Word's grammar checker goes, it frequently misapplies rules
because it often analyzes only part of the sentence or it overapplies a rule
where it might either be optional or not apply to a specific context (as it
did with this sentence).

Bill Burns
Technical Communications Manager
Lionbridge Technologies, Inc.
12585 W. Explorer Dr., Suite 150
Boise, ID 83713
Phone: 208.321.4406
FAX: 208.321.4490
E-mail: bill_burns -at- lionbridge -dot- com

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