Monday, November 24, 2008

Which vs That (or better, neither)

“When you feel an urge to use a "which," lie down until the spasm goes away.” -- James J. Kilpatrick in The Writer’s Art.
This is the second article I’ve read on this topic. A few years ago, I remember one that included comments from a New York Times editor. He suggested "which" be deleted from the dictionary so people wouldn't be tempted to use it. My other take away from that article was the need for a comma before which.

I use which sometimes. Often I change it to that by the last version of a story, or reword the sentence to avoid either. The other thing I find in my early drafts is the overuse of the word that. Often I can delete most, if not all, of them without altering the story.

No comments: