EDITING 101: 34 – When to use “which” or “that”?

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

When to use “which” or “that”?

This is a grammar conundrum which is specific to the US, and that confused me for quite some time myself. If you’re in the UK or elsewhere that uses UK style, you probably don’t even need to read this post, as it will simply confuse you. Just keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll be fine.

For all you United States writers, heads up and pay attention!

Many people feel “which” and “that” are interchangeable. I used to think so, too, until I did some research and discovered there is indeed a difference. The usage difference stems from whether or not the information following which/that is necessary to the sentence (nonrestrictive) or unnecessary (restrictive). (I don’t like the terms nonrestrictive and restrictive, because to me they are backwards and I get them mixed up. So I’ll stick to necessary or unnecessary, which are more…

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