Subject: That/which
From: Watson Laughton <LAUGHTON%ALLOY -dot- BITNET -at- PUCC -dot- PRINCETON -dot- EDU>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 1994 10:05:00 EST

interbitgate%"techwr-l -at- vm1 -dot- ucc -dot- okstate -dot- edu"

>>Does anyone else out there follow this rule? It seems
>>pretty subtle to me. (If it changed the meaning of a
>>sentence, I might worry about it, but otherwise I would

As you point out in your example, it _does_ change the
meaning of the sentence, quite often, and sometimes in
critical ways.

And although some libertines are willing to embrace the
use of "which" in restrictive clauses, a phrase like
"the book which had the recipes in it was on sale" is
about as grating as "between you and I, I don't see
the point of making the that/which distinction".

Reading someone's writing in which "old-fashioned" rules
are followed (like proper use of the subjunctive,
that/which, understanding the distinction between
"imply" and "infer", and like that), I have some
confidence in the precision of their prose, and feel
that I can safely assume they mean what they say and say
what they mean.

When reading the fruits of New Age grammarians' labors,
one sometimes simply has to guess what they're trying
to say.

laughton%alloy -dot- bitnet -at- pucc -dot- princeton -dot- edu

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