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That vs Which

Have you ever been confused as to when you should use 'that' or 'which' in a sentence?

Here are three tips that I came across in the Australian Handbook for Writers and Editors by Margaret McKenzie.

These tips should help to clarify their use:

Tip #1

Use 'that' when the information is essential and 'which' when it could be left out

For example:

The watch that I bought yesterday has stopped.

The watch, which I bought only yesterday, is solar-powered.

Tip #2

Use 'which' for things

For example:

He repeated the joke which I didn't think was funny the first time.

She told me a story which I found incredible.

Tip #3

Use 'that' for things or people in a group

For example:

The poem that won the competition was very short.

The students that took part in the demonstration had the teachers' support.

Remember these three tips the next time you are uncertain as to when to use 'that' or 'which' and writing the sentence will be a much easier task for you.


Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone is the author of Success Talks: Conversations with Everyday Leaders. Maria works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. She provides tailored programs in presentation skills, business writing and effective communication as a leader and team member. Maria’s programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
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