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I thought that our new form teacher was just picking on me as a way to quieten down the class who/which had been quite rowdy.

Which pronoun should I use?

Many thanks.
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Yoong LiatI thought that our new form teacher was just picking on me as a way to quieten down the class who/which had been quite rowdy.

Which pronoun should I use?

Many thanks.

Hi,

Definitely, who does not fit well here. Between that and which, I would use which.

That
should be used to restrict the meaning of the main clause, for example, The children needed clothes that are washable. If we remove that are washable, the meaning of the sentence changes significantly. The intended meaning is more strict: The children need washable clothes.

In your sentence, the phrase to quieten down gives a good picture of the state of the class without having to heavily rely on the support of the word rowdy.

Best,
Hoa Thai
The pronoun 'who' is used for people.
The pronoun 'which' is used for things, animals, and places.

Hope it helped,
Gloson.
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Hi Yoong,
I'm interested in your question. I usually have trouble with those kinds of structures. Can I add "that" as an option? It's just to understand better, because I'm afraid that "that" would not be ok and your sentence need a comma too.
Yoong LiatI thought that our new form teacher was just picking on me as a way to quieten down the class [who - which - that] had been quite rowdy.
I'd like to know, if a native speaker had to say a sentence like that, if they would make a pause after class. I'm afraid you need a pause, and therefore a comma. So that would not be ok there.
But now the problem is to choose between which and who. It's difficult because... we use "who" with people, but what are we supposed to use with collective nouns that represent a group of people? (Ex: team, class, audience, etc.)
I asked the same question some time ago, here's the link: Audience who/which
It seems pretty complicated to me... I guess it depends on whether you are thinking more of the people in the group or the group itself.

Hi Kooyeen

What you've said is true.

'Class' is a collective noun. 'Class' is a group of students. "The class are going on a picnic. The students are excited." So it seems 'who' should be used.

Let's see what other members have to say.
Hoa Thai
Yoong LiatI thought that our new form teacher was just picking on me as a way to quieten down the class who/which had been quite rowdy.

Which pronoun should I use?

Many thanks.

Hi,

Definitely, who does not fit well here. Between that and which, I would use which.

That
should be used to restrict the meaning of the main clause, for example, The children needed clothes that are washable. If we remove that are washable, the meaning of the sentence changes significantly. The intended meaning is more strict: The children need washable clothes.

In your sentence, the phrase to quieten down gives a good picture of the state of the class without having to heavily rely on the support of the word rowdy.

Best,
Hoa Thai

Hoa,

---Between that and which, I would use which--- I am with you totally because "class" is an inanimate object.
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... the class, which had been quite rowdy. (Better, in my opinion, but then I speak AmE.)
or ... the class, who had been quite rowdy. (Might be more common in BrE.)
or rephrase ... the students, who had been quite rowdy. (I prefer this solution.)

-- definitely not ... the class that had been quite rowdy unless used in contrast to the class that had been well behaved.

CJ
Hi Jim,
thanks. I like "which" more too... I don't like "who" when it doesn't refer to people explicitly. But in that thread, where I asked you about the audience, you chose "who".
I will try to ask you a couple of questions:

- Do you think when there are collective nouns like team, audience, class, etc., natives usually use "which" to refer to them, in non restrictive clauses?
- Can you think of some examples where "who" would be better, or "which" would not sound really good?

Thanks Emotion: smile
But in that thread, where I asked you about the audience, you chose "who".
So I did. It didn't seem to me that an audience (as a unit) could 'pay attention', so I changed it to plural as well as using who -- to suggest that individuals in the audience were trying to pay attention. Had the sentence involved 'getting rowdy' (as in the current example), I might have said The audience, which was getting rowdy, ... because I can imagine rowdiness as a "group activity" more easily than I can imagine paying attention as a "group activity". Many of these decisions are "six of one, half a dozen of another", according to your personal tastes.

- Do you think when there are collective nouns like team, audience, class, etc., natives usually use "which" to refer to them, in non restrictive clauses?
- Can you think of some examples where "who" would be better, or "which" would not sound really good?
The discussion above covers most of this. which is more often used than who in AmE, and what the team, audience, etc. is/are actually doing may influence the choice, but rewording to avoid the problem is not a bad idea either, where possible. And I think the latter procedure is the most usual: members of the team instead of team, members of the audience instead of audience, etc.

I don't have any examples at the moment other than those we've already discussed. (And anyway, didn't you say that I give too many examples?! Emotion: wink ) Well, OK. One.

The team/staff/committee, who were requested to walk into the auditorium one by one, were proud of the awards they received.
The team/staff/committee, which had been organized in 1995, won the highest award.

The first suggests to me that several awards were distributed among several individual members of the team. And can a collective walk one by one? The second suggests to me that one award was given to the entire team. And can an individual be organized in the sense of organized in that second sentence?

CJ
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