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He is not the man that/which he was 20 years ago

Children who stay away from school do it/theirs for different reasons. (I understand it as "Children choose to stay away from school for different reasons", but it still sounds strange to me. What meaning do you think the sentence trying to convey?)

The priest made the sign/gesture of the cross when he entered the church.

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Interesting topic name, I see no "usually" or "always".

Anyways, I'll respond with a general response. Usually is like 90%, whereas always is 100%. Usually always conveys something like "have always been" (He has always been on time, this is a change from his usual pattern. Something must have happened). Always in this case can be taken literally or with emphasis. I always drink coke. Well, not always, but I really like coke so I drink it quite often. Always in this case would be taken only as an emphasis and is "usually" understood in context.

I don't see anything wrong with using that or which. However, I think "which" has more of a question aspect to the sentence. Using "that" is more established between the listener and speaker. For example, I may say to a friend, "Hey, you know that new mp3 player that/which I got last week? Well, it's now on sale for half the price." Either is ok, but I prefer "that" in this case.

Here is another sentence, "I went to the store the other day to look for an mp3 player which I might buy." In this case, I wouldn't use "that". There isn't established knowledge yet.

To me, sign/gesture would be the same in this context. Gesture would focus more on the movement, either with the face or hands. A sign is just what is being read. A stop sign for example gives a certain message to stop, but it doesn't gesture.
Which one(s) is / are correct?

1- He is not the man which he was 20 years ago

2- He is not the man that he was 20 years ago

3- He is not the man who he was 20 years ago

4- He is not the man whom he was 20 years ago

5- He is not the man he was 20 years ago
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Your question answers my view of this. You used "WHICH", you did not use "THAT". Why? Because you don't know. So, let's look at each question and see how frequently they are used instead of RIGHT vs. WRONG.

GROUP A

1. I don't use this, but I have seen it. So, I would mark it as 25%
2. I would use this, and I see it used quite often, 75%
3. I have seen this and I sometimes use it, 50%
4. I never use this, and I don't regularly see it, 0%

GROUP B

5. This avoids the question, you could abbreviate all 4 and get 5. So, you would use it for the above relative to their frequency.
1- "the man which he" site:nytimes.com = 0

"the man which he" site:ac.uk = 0

"the man which he" = 743 (Google)

2- "the man that he" site:nytimes.com = 36

"the man that he" site:ac.uk = 234

"the man that he" = 185.000 (Google)

3- "the man who he" site:nytimes.com = 20

"the man who he" site:ac.uk = 37

"the man who he" = 36.100 (Google)

4- "the man whom he" site:nytimes.com = 46

"the man whom he" site:ac.uk = 147

"the man whom he" = 174.000 (Google)

5- "the man he" site:nytimes.com = 16.100

"the man he" site:ac.uk = 656

"the man he" = 2.040.000
WwwdotcomYour question answers my view of this. You used "WHICH", you did not use "THAT". Why? Because you don't know. So, let's look at each question and see how frequently they are used instead of RIGHT vs. WRONG.

GROUP A

1. I don't use this, but I have seen it. So, I would mark it as 25%
2. I would use this, and I see it used quite often, 75%
3. I have seen this and I sometimes use it, 50%
4. I never use this, and I don't regularly see it, 0%

GROUP B

5. This avoids the question, you could abbreviate all 4 and get 5. So, you would use it for the above relative to their frequency.
Hi, wwwdotcom, I really do not get what you mean in your above sentences. Let me remind you of an earlier post of yours in which you have said that the questioner can use either "which" or "that", and gave examples which are correct, but actually your sentences have nothing to do with "He is not the man which/that he was 20 years ago." "Which" is correct in your example sentences, but not in "He is not the man which he was 20 years ago." This is a relative clause and after the words which refer to people one must always use who/whom or that, but not which. Or do you know something which I don't? If yes, please share.
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WwwdotcomI don't see anything wrong with using that or which. However, I think "which" has more of a question aspect to the sentence. Using "that" is more established between the listener and speaker. For example, I may say to a friend, "Hey, you know that new mp3 player that/which I got last week? Well, it's now on sale for half the price." Either is ok, but I prefer "that" in this case.

Here is another sentence, "I went to the store the other day to look for an mp3 player which I might buy." In this case, I wouldn't use "that". There isn't established knowledge yet.
"That" and "Which" are different words and aren't interchangeable. There have been long threads on this already - please take a look at them. To say either is correct could be true, depending on the intended meaning, but not because either one of them will work in any situation as though they were the same word.

I would say, as a native speaker, he is not the man he was, without either word, OR I would say he is not the man that he was. "Which" is simply incorrect. Usually I'm a strong advocate of never using "that" to refer to a person -- it should be "who" -- but he is not the man who he was sounds terrible.

The one about the children - it should be "it," but I like your rewrite better.

And it's "the sign of the cross."
Hi all,

Thank you so much for your notes. Actually the subject "usually always" was for another question which was already made clear and I posted these senteces in the same thread. Sorry for the mess. Emotion: stick out tongue I believe it's our forum guru that helped me make my new questions easy to read and eliminated the previous sentence about "usually always". I really appreciate your help. Thanks to all of you.Emotion: smile
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