Style Matters #49: Resolving ‘that, which, who, whom’ conundrums



You’re in a rush and you just can’t recall whether you need to use that or which in a sentence or, perhaps, your dilemma is choosing between who and whom. Maybe the choice you’re facing is between all four.

Then fear not. There are simple reminders you can use.

Firstly, sentences that have restrictive clauses (ones that could not be removed from the sentence or it would no longer make sense) require that and non-restrictive clauses (ones that can be discarded without changing the meaning of the sentence) require which.


The chaos that follows a cyclone has to be seen to be believed.
Apples, which are grown widely in Australia, are a popular fruit.
(TIP: restrictive clauses are properly surrounded by commas)

Secondly, the choice between using who and whom confuses most writers at some time. A simple way to remember the difference is to use who

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2 comments on “Style Matters #49: Resolving ‘that, which, who, whom’ conundrums

  1. Thanks Lori, you’re my first re-blog (that I know of). You may care to read through the Style Matters series at reporting4work.com.au, the first batch of which is coming to a close tomorrow! Then it’s back to other things for a while before I start another SM series. All the best with your writing. Trina

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