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Saturday, July 27, 2013

How the Grinch Teaches Grammar

After a good question from a friend this week about whether to use who or which in a document referring to a group of companies, I thought others might benefit from a reminder about this rule, too.  First, here's the rule:

Who should be used to refer to persons only.  Which should be used to refer to things only.  (That may be used to refer to either persons or things.)

The rule is straightforward and simple.  The trick is remembering it the next time you have a question on whether to use who or which in your writing or speaking.  I think if you remember, "Witches ride broomsticks," you can remember a witch (which) needs a broomstick (thing) to ride.  Or, you can remember Cindy Lou Who and Betty Lou Who are the inhabitants or people who live in Whoville, so who goes with people.

Stay away from the paraphernalia wagon which is coming down from Mount Crumpit, unless Euchariah Who, who has helped before on Grinch Night, can help save the day again, and straighten out your grammar.