re:that vs who

Subject: re:that vs who
From: "nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il" <nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 2 Apr 2009 06:28:29 -0400

Peter ponders:
"Any user >who< desires good results follows the instructions carefully."
"Any user >that< desires good results follows the instructions carefully."

Both are correct. Other things being equal, I'd
prefer "who" because it's nicer to refer to a person
as a person than as something that might or might
not be a person.

In some contexts, of course, a user might not be
a person. A user might be a batch process, for
example. But maybe that wasn't an important aspect
of the question.

> "My sister, who is arriving tomorrow, is president of
> the Industrial Writers' Guild."

The minute you put a comma in front, implying that the
clause is non-restrictive, you can't use "that." If
clause were restrictive, theoretically you could.

> "My sister who finished college is president of
> the Industrial Writers' Guild. My sister who didn't
> is president of Sony America."

> "My sister that finished college is president of
> the Industrial Writers' Guild. My sister that didn't
> is president of Sony America."


Mark L. Levinson
nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il

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