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What is the Difference?
Grammarly is an online grammar checker that helps you correct a wide range of errors in your writing. Its premium version offers a comprehensive set of additional features that can elevate your writing to the next level.
One of the most common mistakes people make is using which and that incorrectly. This can cause confusion, especially when it comes to restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses. The difference between these two words is simple: Use that to introduce information that cannot be removed without the sentence falling apart, and use which to introduce nonrestrictive clauses.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, but the general rule is that you should always use that in a restrictive clause and which in a nonrestrictive one. Here are a few examples:
When you use which, it implies that there are many different possibilities, while that indicates that the information is essential to understanding the sentence. For example, if you are discussing a specific historical event, you would use which to describe the different events that took place. On the other hand, if you are talking about Paul’s favorite cafe, it is important to know which one it is, so you should use that.
Once you have the hang of these rules, it is easy to remember which should be used when. Just keep in mind that it is important to be aware of your audience and the purpose of your writing when choosing which or that.
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One of the most important grammar rules involves using that vs which correctly. Knowing when to use each can make or break your writing. When you’re deciding whether to use that or which, you should think about the meaning of the clause that it introduces. If the clause modifies or identifies the noun in an essential way, then use that. If the information in the clause isn’t necessary for understanding the noun, then it’s a nonrestrictive clause and you should use which.
To remember the difference, you can think of that as adding a restrictive clause to the noun and which as introducing a nonrestrictive clause. Restrictive clauses can’t be removed from the noun without changing its meaning, while which adds extra information that can be removed. It’s also helpful to remember that you shouldn’t use commas before an adjective clause that starts with which or whose.
If you’re confused, you can always check the Grammarly guide to which vs that or this resource from the University of Chicago. Both resources explain the differences between the two phrases and provide examples.
There’s no one right answer when it comes to which vs that. It depends on your audience, the type of writing you’re doing, and the style of grammar you want to use. However, I recommend learning the difference between the two, as it will make your writing clearer and more professional.