That and Which–the Difference?

Even [tag]Thomas Jefferson[/tag] and the Founding Parents (can’t say Fathers anymore due to the PC Police–oops, here they come!) couldn’t get the distinction right between using which and that.

Now, the distinction is simple: that is restrictive and which isn’t; that is essential and which isn’t.  It’s all relative. 

Okay, I’m joking but not joking, and to help clarify the distinction between which and that, I’ll be writing an article soon and posting it here.

Meanwhile, consider these sentences: “A cat that has no claws cannot defend itself.” “A neighbor’s cat, which has no paws, comes by to visit us all the time.”

I’ll be back with further explanations. (And yes, I’m against the declawing of cats.)

One thought on “That and Which–the Difference?

  1. John says:

    Each sentence is a combination of two statments which might have been made independently. – Elements of Style

    …the premature expiration of a pig is, I soon discovered, a departure which the community marks solemnly on its calendar – E.B. White, “Death of a Pig”

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