RE: that vs who

Subject: RE: that vs who
From: "Donald H White" <dwhite -at- jrtcllc -dot- com>
To: "'Downing, David'" <david -dot- downing -at- Fiserv -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 2 Apr 2009 10:06:57 -0400

"Who" refers to a person. "That" and "which" refer to groups or things.

I think people write "...[person] that [did something]..." because they are
lazy or because of common public speech. I use "y'all" and "ain't" often in
speech and informal writing (e-mail), but not in a document.

I make bigger, better mistakes in my documents...

Cheers, y'all!

Don White
James River Technical Communications LLC

|-----Original Message-----
|From: Downing, David [mailto:david -dot- downing -at- Fiserv -dot- com]
|Sent: Thursday, April 02, 2009 9:49 AM
|To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
|Subject: RE: that vs who
|From: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
|Subject: that vs who
|"Any user >who< desires good results follows the instructions
|"Any user >that< desires good results follows the instructions
|I encounter both of these constructions in everyday use, and have the
|feeling that "who" is the correct usage. What accounts for the use of
|"that" in referring to people? Is there a rule that confirms my
|preference for "who" or one (of which I'm unaware) that
|prescribes "that"?
|Perhaps people who fear distinguishing between "who" and "whom" are
|using "that" to avoid any chance of being wrong. But that doesn't seem
|possible. Here, for example, is a sentence where only "who" could
|possibly appear, but never "whom" or "that": "My sister, who
|is arriving
|tomorrow, is president of the Industrial Writers' Guild." And in the
|interrogatory, only "who" or "whom" can appear: "Whom have you
|"Who will be here?" Perhaps people avoid "who" because they feel it's
|reserved for questions? Or because they dread sounding like owls?
|I would agree that "who" is more appropriate than "that,"
|because "that" makes a person sound like an inanimate object.
|I'm guessing the reason people use "that" is to emphasize the
|role -- user -- rather than the person.
|David Downing
|Senior Technical Writer
|Credit Union Solutions


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RE: that vs who: From: Downing, David

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