Remember how I told you I was going to editor school? I’m in the middle of the grammar review course, with an amusing instructor who divides people into two groups: pre-Hey, Jude and post-Hey Jude. If you were born before Hey, Jude (1968), you learned grammar in school. Those born after Hey, Jude missed out on the opportunity to diagram sentences. Unfortunately, they also missed the chance to learn to speak and write correctly. If you’ve never heard of Hey, Jude, u prly rt lik ths.
Grammar is not for the weak. Consider this passage in today’s reading assignment:
What I really want to do here is tell you the difference between that and which. Many bloggers use these words interchangeably, because they were born when Paul McCartney’s band was called Wings. Here’s the scoop.
Use which if the part that follows could just as well be placed in parentheses or left out altogether. For example:
Use that if the part that follows is essential to the sentence. Like this:
Note that the which clause must be preceded by a comma. If you leave the comma out, you render the sentence unclear. Consider:
If you leave the sentence in this condition, the reader may conclude that the dog eats pie a la mode whenever the doorbell rings. And we wouldn’t want to give that impression, would we?
I’m glad we had this little chat, which has been fun for me. I hope it has been a post that you will remember.