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07-04-2006, 04:40 AM
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http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/statusicon/post_old.gif 06-24-2006, 01:35 PM katiemac (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=16) vbmenu_register("postmenu_666763", true);
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I'm curious as to what you fine folks think of "who" versus "that" when referring to objects with personalities.

For example, people are always who: "The woman who works at the store."

Objects are always that: "The cart that is in the store."

"That" is also used when referring to animals.

But what about, for instance, an animal with a personality, or an object with a personality? I recently read a movie review for "Cars," for example, where the author wrote, "a car that learns to live life in the slow lane."

To my ear, "that" sounds awful. I'd much prefer to read "who," even if it is an object. Same goes for animals, in special cases. I can think of books titled, "The Cat Who" for argument's sake.

Another small point that's always bugged me in this context: What about when referring to a group of people? Technically, we've got an object, but neither one sounds quite right to me.

"The group that is responsible for..."
"The group who is responsible for..."

Would you guys relax the rule in any of the above cases? Is there aleady a rule?

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/statusicon/user_online.gif katiemac[U]View Public Profile (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=16)Send a private message to katiemac (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/private.php?do=newpm&u=16)Send email to katiemac (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/sendmessage.php?do=mailmember&u=16)Find More Posts by katiemac (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/search.php?do=finduser&u=16)

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/statusicon/post_old.gif 06-24-2006, 01:50 PM Puma (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=7222) vbmenu_register("postmenu_666789", true);
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Ready for this - Harbrace College Handbook, 5th edition (ancient) Glossary of usage "Use who or that instead of which or what to refer to persons." My other college handbook does not have a glossary; but second source - Writers INC. - "Which refers to nonliving objects or animals; which should never refer to people. Who is used in reference to people. That may refer to animals, people, or nonliving objects. Hope that helps. Puma
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http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/statusicon/post_old.gif 06-24-2006, 02:10 PM reph (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=12) vbmenu_register("postmenu_666824", true);
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With animals, the line is fuzzy, like some of the animals. Where I used to work, we published books for hikers, among other things, and so we had to decide what to do about wildlife. We had some guidelines: Use "who" if the animal is personalized enough to have a name, for instance. Use "he" or "she," not "it," if the animal's sex is important in the context: "...the mother bear. She..."

The protagonist of Cars is male. I'd use "he" there. If I use "he," I'd better use "who" for consistency. Maybe the writer decided differently or had to follow house style.