Which, That, Which

NaNoBlogwhatever 2 of 30:

Alas, which and that are becoming interchangeable in US English, and seem to be  very interchangeable in other Englishes. It took me many years to appreciate how they were different, but once I did, I loved the different meanings that they conveyed. Lately, I see many, many uses of which when that would be better–and, I’d argue, simpler. You’re a lot more likely to misuse which than that, too. And, okay, Grammar Girl says they absolutely can be interchangeable, but one of the awesome things about English is how terribly complicated it is!

Also rantworthy: misuse of may and might. I have only seen this in the past year or so, and I don’t know where it’s coming from. Finally, I’m seeing an increase in commas where commas don’t go. These examples are all wrong, wrong, wrong, but the explanation why will have to wait for another day:

Author, Paige Number writes picture books. (Also: redundant.)

I was looking down the road with I saw police officer, Lieutenant Dan walk by.

When will club president, Gene Simmons come to speak to us?


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