Which vs. That

Using which and that commonly in English does not mean that they are easy to use. Since they are important it is a chance for you to learn them easily, here.

"Which" vs. "That " in the English Grammar

What Are Their Main Differences?

'Which' and 'that' are used in different situations. By situations, we mean different kinds of sentences. There are two kinds of sentences restrictive and non-restrictive sentences. Which is used in non-restrictive sentences, while that is used in restrictive sentences.

What Are Restrictive Sentences?

  • 'Restrictive sentences':

are also known as essential sentences. it means they are necessary to have a complete meaningful sentence. The important thing to know is that they are not surrounded by commas, either at the beginning or at the end.

This is the hotel that we spent our honey moon in.

Here in this example, "we spend our honey moon in" is essential for the entire sentence to make sense.

Soda that is not sugar free makes me feel sick.

This job is all that I wanted for my whole life.

What Are Non-restrictive Sentences?

  • 'Non-restrictive sentences':

are also known as non-essential sentences. It means if we omit them from the sentence, it does not make any harm to the meaning of the sentence. Thus, They are put between two commas. One at the beginning of the clause and one at the end.

My birthday cake, which contains bananas and nuts, is really delicious.

The woman, who has blond hair, is the murderer.


Spoken English Language

In spoken English, most of the time you do not follow every single rule. So, it is ok to use both 'which' and 'that' as relative pronouns in non-restrictive or restrictive clauses

When to Use Which and That?

Since the only difference between 'which' and 'that' relies on what kinds of sentences they are used in; Let us explain them through examples to clarify them.

The party, which was organized by Pam, was a terrible nightmare.

This is the book that I finished reading it, yesterday.

The baby that was born yesterday needs special care.

The tower, which is in Paris, was built 60 years ago.

British English Flexibility

In British English 'that' and 'which' can both be used in 'restrictive clauses'. However, in American English rules are a little bit firm and steady.

The hat that I ordered is more expensive than this one. (American and British English)

The hat which I ordered is more expensive than this one. (British English)


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