The UVic Writer's Guide

Who/ Which / That

When using these as relative pronouns, use who to refer to people:

"The man who mistook his wife for a hat"

Use which for things:

("The house which you are thinking of robbing").

That can refer to either:

"The man that mistook his wife for a hat,"

"The house that you are thinking of robbing."

Note that if the subject of the subordinate clause is different from that of the main clause, you can often omit the relative pronoun:

"The house you are thinking of robbing is empty,"


"The house that was broken into was empty."

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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated September 22, 1995