Difference between "that" and "which"

1

Hi.

 

I would like to the difference between "that" and "which". As I know, "that" is used for restrictive clause and "which" is used for nonrestrictive clause. Can you please give detailed explaination between these two?

 

 

Thanks.

asked Feb 02 '11 at 03:09 Tharani New member

2 answers


3

Tharani, 

 

A restrictive clause (also called defining relative clauses) is a clause limits, defines, or 'restricts' another part of the sentence.  You cannot remove the restricted clause from a sentence without changing the basic meaning of the sentence.  Restrictive clauses that define things use 'that' (or 'who' if it restricts a person, 'when' if it restricts units of time, and 'where' if it restricts a place).  Because talking abstractly about clauses can be confusing, here are some examples.

 

Dogs that are naughty will be put outside.

 

(Restrictive clause: 'that are naughty'. It restricts 'dogs', telling us what kind of dogs.  Does the sentence have the same basic meaning when the clause is removed? "Dogs will be put outside." No, because not all dogs should be put outside, only those that are naughty.)

 

The house that I grew up in was blue.

 

(Restrictive clause: 'that I grew up in'. It restricts 'the house', telling us what kind of house it was.  Does the sentence have the same basic meaning when the clause is removed? "The house was blue." No, because it's not clear which house we are talking about.)

 

The lady who took our photograph at the bridge is sitting in the corner.

 

(Restrictive clause: 'who took our photograph at the bridge'. It restricts 'the lady', telling us who the lady is.  Does the sentence have the same basic meaning when the clause is removed? "The lady is sitting in the corner." No, because it's not clear who this lady is.)

 

NOTE: With restrictive clauses you do not set the clause apart from the sentence with commas.

 

A nonrestrictive clause (also called nondefining relative clauses) is a clause that adds information to a sentence, but does not limit, define, or 'restrict' another part of the sentence.  Unlike restrictive clauses, you can remove these clauses from the sentence and the meaning or important message of the sentence is still clear.  Nonrestrictive clauses use 'which' to talk about things ('who' to talk about a person or persons, 'where' to talk about places, and 'when' to talk about time).  Here are some examples:

 

The pie, which was blueberry, tasted great.

 

(Nonrestrictive clause: 'which was blueberry'. It tells us more about 'the pie'. Does the sentence have the same basic meaning when the clause is removed? "The pie tasted great." Yes, because the flavour of the pie is not vital to understanding the situation or message.)

 

Our school, which is over 300 years old, is getting a new auditorium.

 

(Nonrestrictive clause: 'which is over 300 years old'. It tells us more about 'our school'. Does the sentence have the same basic meaning when the clause is removed? "Our school is getting a new auditorium" Yes, because the age of the school is not vital to understanding the situation or message.)

 

His mother, who we call our second mother, is coming to visit us.

 

(Nonrestrictive clause: 'who we call our second mother'. It tells us more about 'his mom'. Does the sentence have the same basic meaning when the clause is removed? "His mom is coming to visit us." Yes, because the fact that she is a beloved friend is not vital to understanding the message.)

 

NOTE: Nonrestrictive clauses should be set off from the sentence with commas.

 

Best, 

 

Kim

link edited Feb 02 '11 at 12:53 Kimberly Expert

Fantastic answer, thanks! Elvis TrundleFeb 05 '12 at 14:42

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0

Clear and Easy to understand.Awesome

link comment answered Feb 13 '13 at 07:27 Ali Imran New member

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