After the words, all, same, any, none, nothing, only, as, ( use that )
Looking for ESL work?: Try our EFL / TOEFL / ESL Jobs Section!
Use "that" whenever the identity "that" is replacing is known to the speaker. Examples:
I will read the book that is written by my favorite author. (not: "which is written..")
All that I can see from here is beautiful.
She didn't even apologize, and that is why I am angry. (not: "apologize, which is why...")
Use "which" whenever the speaker does not know what "which" is. Examples:
Which route will we take to get there?
I do not know which [one] is the better car.
My own personal belief is that this rule has been relaxed over time. Now you can use "that" and "which" much more interchangably with restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses. But some still rigourously adhere to this rule.
I hope that helps.
"The house which I bought last year has three bedrooms." (restrictive)
"The house, which I bought last year, has three bedrooms." (non-restrictive)
On the other hand, you will probably not find "that" as the introductory pronoun of a non-restrictive relative clause in a text written by anyone who has some knowledge of grammar.
"The house (that) I bought last year has three bedrooms."
"The house, that I bought last year, has three bedrooms." incorrect
"The toys that are in the garden are not my children's."
"The toys, that are in the garden, are not my children's." incorrect
In the "incorrect" sentences, "which" is the right pronoun to use.
There is yet another type of relative clause in which "which" is preferred to "that": what is called "sentential relative clause" by some authors because it does not modify any preceding nouns in particular but a whole clause:
"John was late for dinner last night, which made me angry."
In this sentence, "which" refers to/replaces the whole clause "John was late for dinner last night". Some teachers tell their students that a good way to recognise this use of "which" is to see if it can be replaced by "the fact":
"John was late for dinner last night; 'the fact' made me angry."
I know which is the better car-- the speaker knows but has not revealed the information.
I know that is the better car -- this 'that' is not a relative pronoun; it is a demonstrative pointing to the better car, so the information has been revealed. The same sentence can also be cast as: I know (that) that is the better car.
People are waiting to help.
Related forum topics: