Summary: Quick Rules for Using the Relative Pronouns"That" and "Which" Clauses

    • If the clause were removed from the sentence, would the meaning of the sentence be clear?

If "yes," then the clause is non-essential (or descriptive). Use the relative pronoun "which" and set off the clause with commas.

If "no," then the clause is essential (or defining). Use the relative pronoun "that" and don't use commas.

Hint: Usually "which" is overused.

    • When you review your draft, check all sentences that end with "which" clauses. Does the relative pronoun "which" unambiguously modify an adjacent noun? If "yes," then the relative clause is correctly used. If "no," then the reference may be unclear and the sentence needs revision.

Congratulations! You have completed the tutorial on using the relative pronouns "that" and "which." If you have questions or comments about this grammar concept or the tutorial, please send us E-mail.

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