[no subject]

From: Stephen Victor <svictor -at- LGC -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 1996 09:59:33 -0600

Rivas, Merrie wrote:

> Which of the following sentences is grammatically correct and why/why
> not?

> 1. The record description is a text entry which has no conditional
> logic.

> 2. The record description is a text entry which does not have
> conditional logic.

> merrie -at- stateoftheart -dot- com

Neither is correct. In each sentence, "which" should be "that." "That"
is used for restrictive clauses, which distinguish a particular item
from a group of similar items. "Which" is the nonrestrictive pronoun and
is used to add parenthetical information about a single item. By using
"that" you are saying, in effect, "The record description is a text
entry [a type of text entry distinguished from many different types of
text entries] that does not have conditional logic." Using "which" ("The
record description is a text entry, which does not have...) implies that
all text entries (that is, all the possible types of text entries) do
not have conditional logic, which is not the case. Have I explained this
clearly? Something tells me I haven't; maybe more coffee is in order. :)

It seems that the reason for your question was to determine whether "has
no" or "does not have" is correct. While each form is grammatically
correct, the first is less wordy and so might be more desirable in a
technical document.


Stephen P. Victor svictor -at- lgc -dot- com
Landmark Graphics Corporation svictor -at- compassnet -dot- com
15150 Memorial Drive http://www.cda.ulpgc.es/steve.html
Houston, TX 77079 USA De gustibus non disputandum est

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