RE: who vs that

Subject: RE: who vs that
From: "Nuckols, Kenneth M" <Kenneth -dot- Nuckols -at- mybrighthouse -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2005 17:21:45 -0400

Claire said...

> How about a *definitive* source, such as Garner's Modern American
> (or even Strunk and White)?
> Garner says: (page 836, section D)
> "Who is the relative pronoun for human beings (though that is also
> acceptable); that and which are the relative pronouns for anything
> than humans, including entities created by humans."

Okay this debate reminds me of another word choice issue that always
drives me batty when I hear it. It's probably not "wrong" but it sure
sounds incorrect to my ears.

It's the "called" vs. "named" issue.

"The CEO was called John Smith." Any time I read something like this
where a person is "called" and then it lists their name, it just sounds
so wrong and ignorant. I would argue that there's no option, exception,
or exemption for not writing or saying it as "The CEO was NAMED John

I would argue that when referring to people "called" should never be
used when referring to a person's name; it should only be used when
giving some descriptive character ("called brave," "called brash"), or
nickname ("called Skippy by his college chums"). The funny thing is, it
doesn't bother me when I hear the reverse--such as using "named" with a
title or honorarium. An example of that might be, "...whom Time magazine
named Person of the Year."

But is this just one reader's/listener's prejudice, or is there really
some rule as to when you should use "called" or "named" when referring
to someone and giving their name, a nickname, a character trait, or some
sort of title or honorarium?

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