RE: that vs who

Subject: RE: that vs who
From: "Pinkham, Jim" <Jim -dot- Pinkham -at- voith -dot- com>
To: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, "techwr-l" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 2 Apr 2009 10:05:40 -0500

Good point. I suspect the non-"who" constructions are not so much
incorrect as increasingly archaic. For example, the King James Bible has
passages such as "Let them that are in Judea flee unto the hills," and
there's an old hymn that, referring to God, says "which wert, and art,
and evermore shalt be." I'd bet the King's English was correct at that
time, but certainly not everyday usage in our time.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+jim -dot- pinkham=voith -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+jim -dot- pinkham=voith -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Gene Kim-Eng
Sent: Thursday, April 02, 2009 9:11 AM
To: techwr-l
Subject: Re: that vs who

This is one of those times when "correct" and "accepted" usages are used
interchangeably. Grade school grammar lessons teach that "who" should
be used when discussing individual people and "that" when discussing
groups of people, non-humans or inanimate objects, but the rule has been
commonly disregarded throughout almost the entire history of the English
language. You will find examples of "that" being used to describe a
person in works by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens, etc. If my audience
included a lot of academics I would be careful about my own usage and
that of others, but otherwise I wouldn't get into a fight over it with
anyone.

It's also one of those discussions that should be carefully limited to
people in the profession and not carried out in the presence of
outsiders, in order to avoid adding to the already common general
perception that the technical writers get bogged down in trivialities
that nobody else cares about.

Gene Kim-Eng


----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
> "Any user >who< desires good results follows the instructions
carefully."
>
> "Any user >that< desires good results follows the instructions
carefully."
>
> 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"?

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authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
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Follow-Ups:

References:
that vs who: From: Peter Neilson
Re: that vs who: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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