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chibeth
01-13-2007, 09:57 AM
Which one of these is correct:

Carl believed she'd cheated, lied, and left without so much as a goodbye. That wasn't the truth at all.

or

Carl believed she'd cheated, lied, and left without so much as a goodbye. Which wasn't the truth at all.

Help!

Julie Worth
01-13-2007, 05:53 PM
While that is technically correct, I opt for which when it flows better, as it does here.

Jamesaritchie
01-13-2007, 06:33 PM
Which one of these is correct:

Carl believed she'd cheated, lied, and left without so much as a goodbye. That wasn't the truth at all.

or

Carl believed she'd cheated, lied, and left without so much as a goodbye. Which wasn't the truth at all.

Help!

As an experiment, try making it one sentence. You'll eliminate one of the possibilities instantly.

Pamster
01-14-2007, 12:35 AM
I like it as one sentence too Jamesaritchie. I could see using both:

Carl believed that she'd cheated, lied, and left without so much as a goodbye, which wasn't the truth at all

But that's just me...;)

maestrowork
01-14-2007, 08:10 AM
Agreed. Pamster, the first "that" is not needed:

Carl believed she'd cheated, lied, and left without so much as a goodbye, which wasn't the truth at all.

chibeth
01-14-2007, 12:37 PM
I don't have the option of combining the two sentences, unfortunately.

Thanks for all your help, though. Seeing the sentences combined made the choice clear.

Pamster
01-14-2007, 06:14 PM
Glad to have helped chilbeth. :)

maestrowork
01-14-2007, 08:36 PM
Actually, if you keep them two separate sentences, "that" or "it" should be used in the second.

Pat~
01-14-2007, 08:54 PM
I agree with Julie. That is technically correct, but which sure sounds better--in one or two sentences.

ErylRavenwell
01-15-2007, 09:06 AM
Which one of these is correct:

Carl believed she'd cheated, lied, and left without so much as a goodbye. That wasn't the truth at all.

or

Carl believed she'd cheated, lied, and left without so much as a goodbye. Which wasn't the truth at all.

Help!

"That" is correct (crudely). But note that this "that" isn't related to "which" in that context. "That" in that case functions more or less as a demonstrative pronoun, as if you are pointing to something, and can be grouped with "this", "those", "these".

However, as relative pronouns, "that" is simply a substitute for "which" or "who", but is used restrictively.

"Who" or "Which" cannot be the subjects of a complete sentence.

ErylRavenwell
01-15-2007, 09:11 AM
As an experiment, try making it one sentence. You'll eliminate one of the possibilities instantly.

I don't think rewriting the sentences is the issue. Clearly he can't differentiate between the different types of pronoun. This is where the problem lies.

ErylRavenwell
01-15-2007, 09:59 AM
I like it as one sentence too Jamesaritchie. I could see using both:

Carl believed that she'd cheated, lied, and left without so much as a goodbye, which wasn't the truth at all

But that's just me...;)

And "which" is related to which noun? Actually, it may sound correct but it's not. You should use "that; but then you'll have a comma splice, since "that" is a subject.

tenpenynail
01-15-2007, 10:11 PM
Which one of these is correct:

Carl believed she'd cheated, lied, and left without so much as a goodbye. That wasn't the truth at all.

or

Carl believed she'd cheated, lied, and left without so much as a goodbye. Which wasn't the truth at all.

Help!

**Just a note not asked for,,,I'd change the 'so' to 'as.'**

I read 'which' much smoother than 'that.' I know That is called for in formal writing--but if it isn't formal and it sounds better, I'd go with it. I firmly believe that the rules of grammar are necessary--but becoming a slave to them and using them when it is awkward--isn't healthy--for me anyway.

Tell us what you decide to go with!

maestrowork
01-15-2007, 11:18 PM
If you use "Which" in the second sentence, it becomes a sentence fragment.

chibeth
01-16-2007, 03:05 PM
It is a fragment, of course, but the writing is informal, and it's used for effect.

I went with which. Sometimes the sound created is more important than being technically correct (in my opinion, anyway).

ColoradoGuy
01-20-2007, 04:57 AM
The best discussion I've come across of the restrictive/non-restrictive that/which issue (including the comma yes or no) is in Follett's Modern American Usage. The updated edition, edited by Erik Wensberg, discusses it on pages 293-4. There is some difference between American and English usage on this.

moon&stars
01-23-2007, 02:24 AM
Chibeth,

'Which wasn't the truth at all' is hard to read and understand. If you want to keep fragments for effect, choose wisely or you lose readers.

BogWitch64
01-23-2007, 05:34 AM
For the sake of posterity, here's the rule (from Woe is I--best grammar book in existence):
If you can drop the clause and not lose the point of the sentence, use which. If you can't, use that.

A 'which' clause goes inside commas. A 'that' clause doesn't.

Though you've already used it as you've chosen to use it, according to the 'rule', it should be 'that' if you are separating it into two sentences.

I think your problem came from splitting it into two sentences, but liking the flow of a continuous sentence. It could have (properly) gone two ways:

Carl believed she'd cheated, lied, and left without so much as a goodbye. That wasn't the truth at all.
or
Carl believed she'd cheated, lied, and left without so much as a goodbye, which wasn't the truth at all.

That said, it's your call, of course, and you made it, which is fine. (like how I got both that AND which into one sentence? Mad skills, eh? <g>) You know how it should go in YOUR story. Defend it to the death--unless, of course, you're up against a copy-editor or editor who insists otherwise. Then I say, let the Wookie win, R2.

C.bronco
01-23-2007, 05:35 AM
Microsoft always wants to switch my whiches to thats. To hell with them, I say! I will say which when appropriate, which makes me feel better.

Akuma
01-26-2007, 02:50 AM
Just for the sake of overkill, here's a section of Grammatically Correct about the issue.


Pages 77-9

In the previous examples of restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses, the only factor that changes is the presence or absence. of a comma. The words functioning as the subject--who, whose, where, etc.--are the same for both types of clause. IN one case, though, the subject changes as well. Specifically, you use the pronoun which for a nonrestrictive clause,, and the pronoun that for a restrictive one.
Compare the following sentences:

The newspapers, which are on the coffee table, should be saved.
The newspapers that are on the coffee table should be saved.

These sentences differ in two ways: One has commas and uses which; the other has no commas and uses that. How does this affect the meaning? In case A, the implication is that the newspapers--all the newspapers--should be saved and, incidentally, they happen to be on the coffee table. If this sentence read simply as The newspapers should be saved, it would be missing some information (the location of the papers), but would still fully identify what needed to be saved. In case B, which is restrictive, the implication is that only certain papers are to be saved. That is, it's okay to get rid of the ones on the floor, the kitchen table, the magazine rack, etc.--but be sure to save those on the coffee table. Here, saying just The newspapers should be saved would not convey the full information necessary to identify the subject.
Other examples are presented below.

She cut him a slice of cake, which he promptly devoured.
He chose the slice of cake that was the bigger of the two.

They got as far as Fort Simpson, which is west of Yellowknife.
The town that they settled in is Fort Simpson.

I decided to buy the brand that cost less.
I decided to buy the no-name brand, which cost less.

Let's start off by discussing the issues that seem to be the most urgent.
Let's start off by discussing item two, which seems to be the most urgent.

How critical is it to use which and that correctly? In most cases, an error will probably not confuse your reader...*
Remember the general rule: which uses a comma, that doesn't.**
A final comment on the which/that rule: it isa Nort American convention, not a universal one. British writers will happily use which for restrictive clauses, and indeed in most cases the meaning is clear. Disregarding the distinction is not a problem as long as you know to avoid constructions that may be misconstrued.***

* But we writers will nit-pick it, of course.
** Duh...
*** Unless you want to be a decent writer.

This long-winded post was more for my sake than for the topic; a person learns the subject better if he teaches it, I've heard.