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clockwork
10-07-2006, 02:11 AM
Hi everyone. Quick question for you;

She's the one who knows.

or

She's the one that knows.

In the context of, She's the one who knows what's going on/the score etc. Not a specific thing that she knows, just a general statement of how savvy and world-wise she is.

Example; "Ask Marge. She's the one who/that knows."

Any help would be appreciated.

arrowqueen
10-07-2006, 02:36 AM
'Who' for people. 'That' for animals/things.

clockwork
10-07-2006, 02:52 AM
Thanks, arrowqueen.

arrowqueen
10-07-2006, 04:16 AM
Yw.

Jamesaritchie
10-07-2006, 05:55 AM
"Who/that" is a strong pet peeve of mine. I hate it when a writer screws these two up. I've rejected stories based on this.

We had a sentence in English class that read something like, "Officer, there's the man who attacked me, there's the dog that bit me, and there's the car that ran over me when I tried to get away."

JustinThorne
10-27-2006, 12:45 PM
"Officer, there is the man who attacked me," is just as likely to be, "Officer, there is the man that attacked me," if it appears in dialogue, because there is so much confusion over the use of the two words.

If your character is not adept with grammar, he may use 'that' instead of the correct use of 'who'. Plus, we rarely use correct grammar when we talk. Especially if you are writing dialogue for a character who is say, under thirteen years of age.

In prose, get it right.

veronie
10-28-2006, 01:26 AM
It's a given that in dailogue rules of grammar can be broken. This forum does not concern that.

JustinThorne
10-28-2006, 02:23 AM
Except the example given above me is dialogue and is taught to highlight the rule!

veronie
10-28-2006, 02:25 AM
Oh, ok. I gotcha. :)

JustinThorne
10-28-2006, 02:30 AM
It's also useful not to assume what is a 'given' on a board used by people coming here to learn.

veronie
10-29-2006, 01:54 AM
Edit: I had a response here that was testy and a bit immature.

Basically, my point was that I believe it ought to be "given" that on the grammar board, we aren't too concerned with the exceptions to the rules when it comes to dialogue.

If a writer doesn't already know their characters won't speak perfect English, then they will generally learn that on the fiction board or somewhere else. Here, though, it's grammar, only grammar, and nothing but grammar. Maybe we need a sticky note in the forum that says, "some grammar rules might not apply in the dialogue of characters," so that we don't have to constantly remind people of this in individual threads.

JustinThorne
10-30-2006, 01:21 PM
Hold on - grammar applies to dialogue, it (dialogue) has its own rules, sure, but there are rules. Also, I think it is down to the members here to decide what should and should not be discussed... not you or I - Is this your forum?

To assume that writers (especially new writers) understand all the rules of dialogue within fiction, is unrealistic... I certainly don't.

I'm not falling out with you, veronie, please don't think that I am, but you can't assume that everyone is at the same level as you when it comes to understanding grammar... this forum is after all, for grasshoppers!

Bufty
10-30-2006, 05:31 PM
True, but my understanding is this thread is focused on points concerning the understanding and application of what is considered to be correct grammar.

That's not the same as the application to fictional dialogue of whatever level of grammar is presumed to be posessed by individual characters and obviously impacts on their dialogue.

The Writing Novels Forum seems a better place to raise queries on that topic. And there are very few, if any, rules of dialogue in fiction, as far as I am aware.




....To assume that writers (especially new writers) understand all the rules of dialogue within fiction, is unrealistic... I certainly don't.

Lance_in_Shanghai
10-31-2006, 05:24 AM
If you search Yahoo or Google for ["who or that" people english], using the "" to keep who or that together, you will see that dozens of experts now accept that for people. Although we know who/whom/whose are for people we cannot firmly dismiss that for people. "Those folks are the group that come to mind when I think about..."

We cannot be rigid about English grammar lest we change the U.S. Declaration of Independence ("a more perfect union" --oops, take out more) and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address ("were created equal" -- oops, adverb form is equally).

ErylRavenwell
10-31-2006, 01:47 PM
'Who' for people. 'That' for animals/things.

I was under the impression "That" could be used as a substitute for "Who/which", but "That" is only used in restrictive clauses.



My two cents.

ErylRavenwell
10-31-2006, 02:31 PM
If you search Yahoo or Google for ["who or that" people english], using the "" to keep who or that together, you will see that dozens of experts now accept that for people. Although we know who/whom/whose are for people we cannot firmly dismiss that for people. "Those folks are the group that come to mind when I think about..."

We cannot be rigid about English grammar lest we change the U.S. Declaration of Independence ("a more perfect union" --oops, take out more) and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address ("were created equal" -- oops, adverb form is equally).

This is what I believe too. Grammar is an evolving, dynamic entity. "That" is nowadays readily accepted as a substitute for who/which, but it is used restrictively.

Kudra
10-31-2006, 05:12 PM
I've noticed this trend, too. I'm very particular about making sure that I use both correctly, but I've read published authors who use that instead of who on their websites. I've noticed the same thing in popular magazines and even in dialogue on television. I always wonder whether it's an error on the writer's part, or just an accepted form now. Or is it an error that's been made so often that it's now become an accepted part of the language?

pdr
11-01-2006, 02:58 AM
you stick with who and which for people, Mridu. Talking about people and using 'That' just sounds rude.

ErylRavenwell
11-01-2006, 04:22 AM
I've noticed this trend, too. I'm very particular about making sure that I use both correctly, but I've read published authors who use that instead of who on their websites. I've noticed the same thing in popular magazines and even in dialogue on television. I always wonder whether it's an error on the writer's part, or just an accepted form now. Or is it an error that's been made so often that it's now become an accepted part of the language?

I have the Oxford Writer's Guide at hand. Quite an old edition at that; you'd expect them to be conservative on the use of "that". It isn't the case.

They consider the following example as correct: The boy that (who) lost his hat is here.

You know how the saying goes: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

English is a dynamic language; I think it's better to adapt to the ongoing trend rather than being conservative. I guess writers of literary fiction tend to be more conservative, while popular fiction novelists are more trendy...or is it trendier. ;)

Kudra
11-01-2006, 06:13 AM
You know how the saying goes: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

English is a dynamic language; I think it's better to adapt to the ongoing trend rather than being conservative. I guess writers of literary fiction tend to be more conservative, while popular fiction novelists are more trendy...or is it trendier. ;)

Yeah, I guess that's what I was asking. Should we join them? Should I be using "that" in place of "who" now and defend my right to do so when an editor objects?

Jamesaritchie
11-01-2006, 09:21 AM
I have the Oxford Writer's Guide at hand. Quite an old edition at that; you'd expect them to be conservative on the use of "that". It isn't the case.

They consider the following example as correct: The boy that (who) lost his hat is here.

You know how the saying goes: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

English is a dynamic language; I think it's better to adapt to the ongoing trend rather than being conservative. I guess writers of literary fiction tend to be more conservative, while popular fiction novelists are more trendy...or is it trendier. ;)

Nonsense. Just because English is dynamic should not mean you go along with those who have no clue, and who harm the language because of illiteracy. That's silliness.

Trendy has nothing to do with this. The problem has always been around, and it's always been cause by the semi-literate members of the population.

Nor does it have anything to do with "If you can beat them, join them." This isn't a club. People use "that" instead of "who" though ignorance, not because of a trend. It makes no more sense to go along with ignorance in language than it does to go along with ignorance in math. Just because a bunch of people may believe two plus two equals five does not mean we should go along with them.

Unfortunately, too many writers guides, grammar books, and other places that should know better have decided the political correctness is more important than knowledge. And this is precisely why this change is coming about.

Dynamic, yes. Changing, yes. But these things should never mean ignorance rules, or that the ability of a langauge to communicate in the best possible way should be changed because most of the general populace is only semi-literate.

kikonie
11-01-2006, 10:06 AM
Nonsense. Just because English is dynamic should not mean you go along with those who have no clue, and who harm the language because of illiteracy. That's silliness.

Trendy has nothing to do with this. The problem has always been around, and it's always been cause by the semi-literate members of the population.


While your argument is flawless, James, the label "semi-literate" is a bit harsh. My own experience with the who/that issue is that it was not covered during my grammar lessons, but that as soon as someone pointed it out to me, I immediately adopted the proper usage. I was in my thirties at the time. I don't believe it would be appropriate to label myself as semi-literate solely because who/that and I didn't cross paths until later in life.

ErylRavenwell
11-01-2006, 11:46 AM
Nonsense. Just because English is dynamic should not mean you go along with those who have no clue, and who harm the language because of illiteracy. That's silliness.

Trendy has nothing to do with this. The problem has always been around, and it's always been cause by the semi-literate members of the population.

Nor does it have anything to do with "If you can beat them, join them." This isn't a club. People use "that" instead of "who" though ignorance, not because of a trend. It makes no more sense to go along with ignorance in language than it does to go along with ignorance in math. Just because a bunch of people may believe two plus two equals five does not mean we should go along with them.

Unfortunately, too many writers guides, grammar books, and other places that should know better have decided the political correctness is more important than knowledge. And this is precisely why this change is coming about.

Dynamic, yes. Changing, yes. But these things should never mean ignorance rules, or that the ability of a langauge to communicate in the best possible way should be changed because most of the general populace is only semi-literate.

While I agree with you on the point, "We shouldn't follow those who butcher the English language", I have trouble following you on your criticism of putative writers guides--especially one published by Oxford...unless, you, yourself, are an authority on the matter. Well, I do think knowledge is adaptable and changeable, otherwise we would all be dead-enders.

With all due respect, just my POV.

ErylRavenwell
11-01-2006, 11:53 AM
Yeah, I guess that's what I was asking. Should we join them? Should I be using "that" in place of "who" now and defend my right to do so when an editor objects?

I guess it would be better to be adaptable, lest you'd become the mirror image of the conservatives, while being ideologically opposed to them--the irony. Pragmatism's the word, I'm guessing.

JustinThorne
11-01-2006, 01:15 PM
There's a vast difference between ignorance and contemporary writing.

Whether purists like it or not, some authors are evolving this language for arts' and entertainments' sake. I agree however, that you have to understand all the rules before you can break them.

Fans of literary fiction would hate someone like Matthew Reilly, who ignores (not through ignorance) certain rules of grammar to increase the reading pace during action scenes, and with interesting results.

Language evolves, get over it.

ErylRavenwell
11-01-2006, 01:32 PM
Madeline L'Engle
"Truth is eternal, knowledge is changeable. It is disastrous to confuse them."

pdr
11-02-2006, 05:44 AM
Once upon a time we all grew up knowing that English had formal and informal structures. If we weren't lucky enough to hear good, grammatical, formal English at home and around us in our community we could hear it on TV and from teachers at school. We would read it in quality newspapers and journals. We would read and hear it in the King James' Bible. We knew that there was our local spoken English and universal formal English.

We knew there was nothing wrong with using our local informal English, but we didn't try to foist it onto everyone else. If someone was a stranger we could use that more formal English. We never pretended our local quirky English was the only form of English, we knew there were many forms and that universal formal English.

Today if you don't come from a family where formal English is spoken you are not likely to hear much of it. Modern simple versions of the Bible and the gutter press have restricted people's access to quality formal English. So if you come from an area where 'You done it good, eh?' is acceptable and common usage then you don't see why others shouldn't say it too. When they don't, you can even try to insist they should if they want to play with you.

You can't insist that your local experiments with English should be universally accepted into the canon of formal English. Oh, you can try and force it by insisting that because everyone does it then it should become acceptable, but English doesn't work that way. Majority use doesn't mean it's correct. Newspaper use and a few 'Look at ME!!!!' writers can't change something that works well.

Formal English will always survive and adapt. And it is still regarded as impolite to call a person 'that' instead of 'who'.

Lance_in_Shanghai
11-02-2006, 08:36 AM
Yes, you should first learn all the rules before you should be allowed to break them. But is it breaking a rule if many experts contend that this is not a rule?

We should also realize that even the accepted rules change and dialects have their differing rules, else the Americans would take up saying whilst instead of while. Even many Brits are giving in to the Americanisms that their grandparents derided. I would hardly blame that on illiteracy or semi-illiteracy. Let's not any of us place himself on a pedestal with the title "Absolute Literate".

pdr
11-03-2006, 05:04 AM
Words have all sorts of other baggage attached to them apart from their meanings.

One piece of baggage is levels of politeness.

In a shop you could reply to the polite: "May I help you?" with:
"Get me..."
"Give me..."
"I want..."
"I need..."
"I'd like...please."
"Yes, please, I'd like..."
"Yes, please, may I have..."

Of course the way the words are spoken matters too, but generally speaking a shop assistant would regard only the last three as polite.

When you talk about someone in converstation, and they are standing next to you, you refer to them by name. Using He/him/ She/her is not polite.

The same applies to who and that. You can hear it too.

"Who was your boss?"
"That bastard, Smith. The boss that comes from hell."

That is being used by the speaker as an insult.

"Who is your new boss?"
"Bill Bloggs, he's the kind of boss who makes work a pleasure."

Polite comment using who to describe the person.

When it comes to using who and that politeness does matter. It's not the grammar rule that counts here. We try to be polite in our speech to people so who is used for people and that for everything else.

JustinThorne
11-03-2006, 01:20 PM
That's a differnt context, pdr.

Plus, "That bastard, Smith. The boss that comes from hell."
could just as easily be "That bastard, Smith. The boss who comes from hell." and the use of 'who' is no less insulting.

However, if we use your argument, are you suggesting that prose must always be polite and use 'who' rather than 'that'. What if I want my POV to sound harsh about a charcter, can I use 'that' then?

pdr
11-04-2006, 03:25 AM
The question was:

Hi everyone. Quick question for you; She's the one who knows. or
She's the one that knows.

In the context of, She's the one who knows what's going on/the score etc. Not a specific thing that she knows, just a general statement of how savvy and world-wise she is.
Example; "Ask Marge. She's the one who/that knows."
Any help would be appreciated.

Answer:
'Who' for people. 'That' for animals/things.

The question was a general grammar one, the answer the generally held correct one.

I was merely pointing out that the reason we use who and that the way we do is because it is polite to do so.

If you want to discuss writing dialogue I suggest the Novel or Short Fiction boards are a better place than here.

JustinThorne
11-06-2006, 02:13 PM
And yet your examples are all dialogue... make your mind up. You're not the first member here to suggest where I post - this is a discussion forum, threads evolve and it is not as if I am posting spam, or totally unrelated issues... save your suggestions, thanks.

Grammar does not exist in a vacuum for writers.

veronie
11-07-2006, 01:58 AM
And yet you are, in a sense, posting a totally unrelated issue. If I wanted, i could go into every thread on the grammar board and argue against the answer given by saying "you don't have to do it that way in dialogue."

JustinThorne
11-07-2006, 01:49 PM
Who's arguing against anything (to do with the topic issue)?

A couple of people have used examples to back-up their argument for grammatical use of 'who' over 'that' and the said examples have been dialogue!

When someone's logic is challenged here, they simply whine about it being the wrong place to discuss dialogue.

No wonder this board has a reputation for being clicky and un-welcoming.

It is not an un-related issue at all! This is a board for writers who will be experimenting with different voices and styles and I will say again that grammar does not exist in a vacuum.

A new writer may come here and see this discussion and leave thinking that they must change every instance of the use of 'that' in their work... which is incorrect. You once again make the assumption that all members have the same knowledge and experience as you do. That isn't a discussion, it's patting each other and yourself on the back. Congratulations.

If you and others, want to evidence your superior grasp of grammar, I suggest your own writing is a better place to do so than here.

**Later Edit**

Go and look at the original question in the first post. The example given appears in dialogue. And yet the responses are all based on the rules of grammar as if the example was in prose. It wasn't. Then an editor talks about it being a pet peeve and uses, yes, dialogue to enforce the rule.

jpserra
11-07-2006, 04:30 PM
Nonsense. Just because English is dynamic should not mean you go along with those who have no clue, and who harm the language because of illiteracy. That's silliness.

Trendy has nothing to do with this. The problem has always been around, and it's always been cause by the semi-literate members of the population.

Nor does it have anything to do with "If you can beat them, join them." This isn't a club. People use "that" instead of "who" though ignorance, not because of a trend. It makes no more sense to go along with ignorance in language than it does to go along with ignorance in math. Just because a bunch of people may believe two plus two equals five does not mean we should go along with them.

Unfortunately, too many writers guides, grammar books, and other places that should know better have decided the political correctness is more important than knowledge. And this is precisely why this change is coming about.

Dynamic, yes. Changing, yes. But these things should never mean ignorance rules, or that the ability of a langauge to communicate in the best possible way should be changed because most of the general populace is only semi-literate.

James, I respect your position, and reticence to transition, but the movement is coming. It is because it is dynamic that we find the richness and beauty in the language. I think that some rules should stay in place, but flexibility in our acceptance of "new trends" is important, as we may find that the trend has become the next pertinent change to our language. In 100 years, we might recognize what comes out of the fray, and still not confirm those as changes, but it will be the reality of the day. I don't think this is ignoance of the rules. It is the nature of humanity.

John Serra

p.s. I weep for the future generations.

JustinThorne
11-07-2006, 04:34 PM
I'm with jpserra,


Grammars evolve through usage and human population separations. With the advent of written representations, formal rules about language usage tend to appear also. Formal grammars are codifications of usage that are developed by observation. As the rules become established and developed, the prescriptive concept of grammatical correctness can arise. This often creates a gulf between contemporary usage and that which is accepted as correct. Linguists normally consider that prescriptive grammars do not have any justification beyond their authors' aesthetic tastes. However, prescriptions are considered in sociolinguistics as part of the explanation for why some people say "I didn't do nothing", some say "I didn't do anything", and some say one or the other depending on social context.

veronie
11-08-2006, 12:34 AM
Who's arguing against anything (to do with the topic issue)?

A couple of people have used examples to back-up their argument for grammatical use of 'who' over 'that' and the said examples have been dialogue!

When someone's logic is challenged here, they simply whine about it being the wrong place to discuss dialogue.

No wonder this board has a reputation for being clicky and un-welcoming.

It is not an un-related issue at all! This is a board for writers who will be experimenting with different voices and styles and I will say again that grammar does not exist in a vacuum.

A new writer may come here and see this discussion and leave thinking that they must change every instance of the use of 'that' in their work... which is incorrect. You once again make the assumption that all members have the same knowledge and experience as you do. That isn't a discussion, it's patting each other and yourself on the back. Congratulations.

If you and others, want to evidence your superior grasp of grammar, I suggest your own writing is a better place to do so than here.

**Later Edit**

Go and look at the original question in the first post. The example given appears in dialogue. And yet the responses are all based on the rules of grammar as if the example was in prose. It wasn't. Then an editor talks about it being a pet peeve and uses, yes, dialogue to enforce the rule.

I did not mean to turn this into a heated debate. I'm sorry if I offended in any way. Nobody's whining here, and i've always found this board very welcoming. Nobody's waiting to pounce on anybody, and no question is considered a dumb question.

If someone decides not to read this board because I disagree with them, then I'm not their problem.

I've reread all the posts on this thread several times, including the OP. It was not asking a question about how a character in a fiction piece should say a certain thing. It was asking a generic grammar question and then gave an example. We don't know if that example is dialogue. For all I know, the OP simply thought up the example as he was writing.

The original question concerning who/that was politely answered, and no one brought up dialogue until your post.

I never meant to upset you with my first response, all i was arguing was that it is pointless to post that rules of grammar can be broken in dialogue when the original question did not ask about dialogue, but was a generic grammar question.

If a new writer sees this discussion and thinks that they must make all their dialogue perfect grammar, then i guess you better quickly post something in every thread on the grammar board where a new writer may get confused when it comes to dialogue.

This will be my last comment on this thread.

jpserra
11-08-2006, 04:18 AM
(http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=661)veronie (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=661), I think everyone here has a valid point. We need to work in our craft, but it's a moving target. I'm a bit of a traditionalist, but grudgingly accept that change is inevitable.

Colloquialisms abound. We can't escape them. So we integrate the best way we can. My only fear is that the publishing industry is probably more traditional than I am; not progressive enough.

Who knows, maybe someday the distribution network and end-sale businesses might even evolve enough to include the inevitability of POD. It's coming. No one wants to accept it. But thatís a different chapter.

John Serra

pdr
11-08-2006, 07:23 AM
So Justin, please remember before the Mods step in and remind you more vigorously.

I think the problem exists because you are confusing dialogue with speech.

We are not talking here about dialogue.

JustinThorne
11-08-2006, 01:36 PM
Why would I need reminding of my own point all along? It's the snarky, condescending comments from individuals who (that ha ha) are not mods that's the problem with an otherwise excellent discussion forum.

Actually, dialogue has a couple of meanings, one of which, is the conversation between people/characters. I think it is pretty clear that, that is the definition I have been using.

The problem exists because people are using dialogue/speech (yourself included) to illustrate a point of grammar and then you urge members to ignore dialogue/speech BECAUSE it is an issue of grammar.

That is confusing, especially for new writers.

I believe I have shown respect when I have challenged examples, for clarity's sake, and yet, rather than clarifying your own points you go on the attack and show little respect. I'm not hiding behind an anonymous user name here, or anywhere on the net, what you see is what you get. Maybe that is why so many members here are so rude and confrontational - sat nice and safe the other side of a screen with a username.

Whatever. I wish all writers the best of luck but I really do have better things to be getting on with.

All the best

Justin

ErylRavenwell
11-08-2006, 02:49 PM
Look like intolerance is rife in this thread. I guess this may be due to a clash of personality between the old school writers and the new skoolers. Somehow, I'm inclined to agree with everything Justin wrote.

arrowqueen
11-09-2006, 01:49 AM
Good heavens! I answer a simple question, go off for a week and come back to three pages of biting and snarling.

And some people think grammar's boring!

:D

pdr
11-09-2006, 04:21 AM
I haven't had such a fit of giggles over a simple grammar question since I had to correct a slip up of great hilarity in a Japanese-English exam paper a couple of years ago.

And I love Justin's idea of respect and not being rude and confrontational.

When someone's logic is challenged here, they simply whine...

No wonder this board has a reputation for being clicky and un-welcoming.

If you and others, want to evidence your superior grasp of grammar,

It's the snarky, condescending comments from individuals who (that ha ha) are not mods that's the problem with an otherwise excellent discussion forum.

I'm not hiding behind an anonymous user name here, or anywhere on the net, what you see is what you get. Maybe that is why so many members here are so rude and confrontational - sat nice and safe the other side of a screen with a username.

Respectful of his fellow writers?
Ah me!

JustinThorne
11-09-2006, 02:19 PM
I haven't had such a fit of giggles over a simple grammar question since I had to correct a slip up of great hilarity in a Japanese-English exam paper a couple of years ago.


Great job, pdr... you manage to sound girly, patronizing and self-important in one sentence!

And then you go all passive-aggressive on me, tut tut. Quoting out of context is very naughty, but then you already evidenced your inability to grasp context when you used dialogue to prove a point of grammar.

Now THAT is rude and disrespectful...

I admit that I have been rude to you, I apologize. My fellow writers however, I have the utmost respect for and from the messages I have received and even rep points (whatever that means) they understood my point in this discussion. Why don't you stick me on your 'ignore' list and/or invite a mod to read this whole thread. I didn't really want to fall out with anyone, I don't know you, hell I don't even know your name but you've certainly made yourself known by your work.

Grammar is NEVER boring in art.


Ah me!

Indeed... me, me, me.

pdr
11-11-2006, 05:42 AM
Honestly Justin, you'll look back on these posts when you're a little older and wiser and squirm with embarrassment.

You have never once defined what you mean by dialogue.

You have been extremely rude to anyone who disagreed with you.

You are still confusing the speech examples used as dialogue.

Nor did I say that when writing prose we always had to be polite. The original question was a basic grammar question. The basic answer was given and you've been screaming blue murder ever since. But what are you really screaming about?

A more rational way for you to discuss something in the who/that usage question would have been to ask something like: 'But what about in dialogue, is the rule the same?'

Jim MacDonald answered that in the grammar and dialoge thread in the Novel writing section. He said: 'Dialog is privileged. That means that you can do anything at all in dialog. All it has to do is work.'

We were discussing basic grammar and used speech as examples. You have been on another planet altogether.

Your rudeness to Veronie and those of us who have disagreed with you is not what people expect on the AW boards.

AmyBA
11-12-2006, 05:44 PM
I'd like to respectfully suggest that perhaps everyone step away from the keyboard a bit-- I think the discussion has gone beyond the original purpose of the thread, the use of who versus that.

Medievalist
11-13-2006, 03:12 AM
The issue isn't one of "that" for things and "who" for people (though it is a helpful general rule, and you shouldn't be using "who" for things).

This is really a question of relative clauses, and, more specifically, the sort of relative clauses known as restrictive clauses or "defining clauses" as they are known in some systems of grammar, and nonrestrictive or "nondefining clauses."

It is, and has been since Old English, quite acceptable to use that for people, in some instances; it's becoming increasingly common, since people are trying, desperately, to avoid using who/whom, because English teachers have terrified them regarding who/whom, and that seems a much safer alternative.

More often than not, a dictionary will answer questions like this. See the Blessed American Heritage Dicitonary on who (http://www.bartleby.com/61/0/W0140000.html) and that (http://www.bartleby.com/61/35/T0143500.html), paying particular attention to the Usage Notes; these generally reflect the use of English in the current time, and they deal with issues of formality and register.

And, if I might be just a little testy . . . re: "pure grammar" versus dialog and this forum . . . it's idiotic in the extreme to treat grammar, or any other facet of language, as something that lives in isolation.

Grammar is not the collection of rules and thou shalt nots that many of us were tortured with in school; it's the description of the actual function of a language, the underlying principles.

JustinThorne
11-13-2006, 04:20 PM
Apologies to everyone!

I've been asked to edit my above post by a mod. I'm not allowed to tell someone that I do not respect them... it must be the 'show, don't tell' rule. Fair enough, when in Rome and all that, plus it is always polite to remove one's shoes if that is the rule of the house.

Fear not new writers, not everyone is as rude as me, or as patronizing as pdr.

Perhaps I will return to the Grammar threads when I am older and wiser... if I can stand the squirming, that is.