A which hunter at it again

I just proofread an article of mine which had been copy-edited, in the process of which all my whichs (and some whos) had been changed into thats! Copy-editors tend to be anonymous, but I bet this person was American. Another which-hunter caught!

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7 Responses to A which hunter at it again

  1. Valerie Gorman says:

    And is that then something you have strong objection to? Is drawing a distinction between restrictive and non-restrictive is such a manner in formal writing not a convenient convention?

  2. Paul Brians says:

    The “which/that” nit pickers bug me too, but a lot of them are editors and sometimes you just have to let them do their thing in order to get published so it’s worth knowing that it may be a problem. When Word grammar-check wants me to change one I usually give in.

  3. It’s rather odd that the copyeditor would be a stickler on the that/which rule but then would change some whos into thats. I know a lot of editors who think that that should never be used with human referents. Some editors allow it, but I don’t think many would actually prescribe that in place of who.

  4. Valerie Gorman says:

    The distinction between the two for me was brought to my attention by a university tutor in the late ’80s and he referred to Strunk and White’s style guide. I’m certain many American’s get their penchant for this from that source as well.

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