Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tuesday Tip: "that" vs. "which"

Are you confused about "that" vs. "which"?  Here are some tips to help you remember when to use "that" and when to use "which."

That is used with "restrictive clauses." These are phrases that narrow down a category or refer to a particular item in that category.  For example:

  • "Applications that are not submitted electronically will not be considered." 
          In this example, the category is "applications." the phrase "not submitted electronically" narrows down that category. If you remove that phrase, it changes the meaning of the sentence, as it would become: "Applications will not be considered."

Which is used with "nonrestrictive clauses." These phrases add something extra about an item already specified. For instance:

  • "My application, which was not submitted electronically, was not considered."
In that example, the "not submitted electronically" phrase adds information. The sentence would have the same meaning is that phrase was removed. The new sentence would become: "My application was not considered."

One final tip:  Clauses using which require commas. Clauses using that do not use commas.

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