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I have a problem that I need to understand. I sometimes get confused as to when I should use these words. There are many sentences which require such a choice, but I always get confused.

Anyway, in addition to answering the above could someone recommend a good book with tapes which covers vocabulary and grammar. I hope to write short stories and articles, but am not confident with my grammar or vocabulary. If only my school had done things the old way.
New Member06
The difference is present in American English, not normally in British English, however use of the American rule is harmless even in Britain.

"that" effectively makes the right hand clause into an adjective. For example "This is the house that Jack built" -- here "that Jack built" is part of the description of the house.

"which" (or more precisely, ", which", since you need the preceding comma) just adds a descriptive phrase which supplements the sentence. For example "This is Jack's house, which is quite large".

The essential difference is that "This is the house" does not narrow down WHICH house you're referencing, so you add "that Jack built" to make that distinction. On the other hand "This is Jack's house" DOES narrow down which house you're referencing, and so you don't need to narrow it down further, and so you don't need "that".

In British English, the difference between the two meanings is carried entirely by the comma, and "which" and "that" are interchangable in this context.

I can't advise you on books and tapes though. Apologies for that.
Rommie
Regular Member606
Thanks for the reply, Rommie. An American rule is better than no rule at all, even though I'm in the UK. I'll have fun trying to put it into my sentences correctly.
Anonymous:
I love an excellent book that ends every chapter with a small lesson. Perfect Agreement by Michael Downing
It taught me many of the difficult things like you are asking about in a simple easy to remember way.
Anonymous:
I'm not sure ,i think "that " can use in any sentence but " which"use in thing, place (sometimes) like in which.
Anonymous:
What?
Anonymous:
 The incorrect use of and punctuation surrounding the words "that" and ", which" drives me to distraction. I am currently reading a book, which was recommended to me, that is loaded with the incorrect use of these and it is irritating!
 This website is useful and gives examples:
http://iws.ccccd.edu/jmiller/A%20Brief_%20No-Nonsense%20Guide%20to%20Comma%20Usage.htm
Anonymous:
This is great
http://www.getitwriteonline.com/archive/103103.htm
Anonymous:
Hey thanks. That was a very informative link and it cleared my concepts very well. Emotion: smile
- Siddharth Jindal
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