The Instigator
PoeJoe
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
daniel_t
Con (against)
Winning
20 Points

The Relative Pronouns "That" and "Which"

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
daniel_t
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/2/2010 Category: Education
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,819 times Debate No: 10649
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (23)
Votes (5)

 

PoeJoe

Pro

I strongly affirm the resolution "that the relative pronouns 'that' and 'which' are entirely interchangeable," and thank my opponent for engaging with me in this delightful debate. Note well that this debate does not directly concern conjunctions, pronouns, or determiners. In this debate, we are merely discussing the uses of "that" and "which" as relative pronouns. For those in the audience not familiar with what a "relative pronoun" is, I recommend this webpage: http://englishplus.com...

Formalities aside, we begin.

I shall first set out to prove that there is no historical precedent for such a separation.

Let us take for example the first few pages of Orwell's classic novel "1984":

---> "It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move."

---> "Inside the flat a fruity voice was reading out a list of figures which had something to do with the production of pig-iron. The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right-hand wall."

---> "He moved over to the window: a smallish, frail figure, the meagreness of his body merely emphasized by the blue overalls which were the uniform of the party."

Or, for a more modern example, the first few pages of Ian McEwan's classic "Atonement," published in 2001:

---> "The play told a tale of the heart whose message, conveyed in a rhyming prologue, was that love which did build a foundation on good sense was doomed."

---> "She took her daughter in her arms, onto her lap... and agreed instantly, murmuring into the tight whorl of the girl's ear, that this word could be quoted on the poster which was to be on an easel in the entrance hall by the ticket booth."

---> "At the age of eleven she wrote her first story--a foolish affair, imitative of half a dozen folk tales and lacking, she realised later, that vital knowingness about the ways of the world which compels a reader's respect."

Or, if you want an American example, consider American journalist Roger Ebert's op-ed piece, entitled "How I believe in God," published in April 2009:

---> "Those words always introduced a hypothetical situation which led the unsuspecting Catholic perilously close to the fires of Hell."

---> "My father in any event was a non-practicing Lutheran, until a death bed conversion which rather disappointed me."

I could list example after example--the ones I've listed are merely those which I've recently encountered--but I'll move on. Simply note that many professional English writers do not distinguish between the relative pronouns "that" and "which."

The following can be found on Washington State University's website, and is written by Paul Brians, a Professor of English there (http://www.wsu.edu...):

---> "I must confess that I do not myself observe the distinction between 'that' and 'which.' Furthermore, there is little evidence that this distinction is or has ever been regularly made in past centuries by careful writers of English."

This is from the American Heritage Book of English Usage:

---> "Some people extend the rule and insist that, just as 'that' should be used only in restrictive clauses, 'which' should be used only in nonrestrictive clauses.... This use of 'which' with restrictive clauses is very common, even in edited prose. If you fail to follow the rule in this point, you have plenty of company. Moreover, there are some situations in which 'which' is preferable to 'that'..."

The following is from EnglishPlus.com (http://englishplus.com...):

---> "Some teachers also tell you that 'that' should be used with restrictive modifiers and that 'which' should be used with nonrestrictive modifiers. Historically, there is little evidence that this 'rule' ever had a significant effect on English expression, but writers should be aware that some correspondents have been taught this practice."

Thus, it is my contention that the relative pronouns 'that' and 'which' are entirely interchangeable.

I have presented my case, and await my opponent's response.
daniel_t

Con

First, I wish to thank PoeJoe for such an intriguing debate topic. I have learned much while researching it and I hope I can do it justice.

Before I get into the meat of my argument I would like to help clear up some terms. In different sources clauses are referred to as "essential", "restrictive", or "defining", or their antithesis. The three terms are used interchangeably.

===

Pro's argument consists largely of anecdotal evidence; a few specific examples he found where the two words happen to be interchangeable or were used incorrectly. Unless Pro can present an authoritative and statically significant account of actual usage, I will ignore his examples as fallacious and address the parts of his argument that are more sound. (http://www.iep.utm.edu...)

Regarding Pro's citation http://englishplus.com... --
A site set up to advertise a computer program is hardly authoritative, so this citation can be safely ignored.

Regarding Pro's citation http://www.wsu.edu... --
Paul Brians is obviously a highly qualified expert on the English language and the fact that he doesn't see a distinction seems very damning. However Mr. Brians is talking about the general case and is being entirely too glib. In the cited source, Mr. Brians refers to a "small but impassioned group of authorities" but who are these people? I can't find them in my searches of authoritative sources. What do the authorities actually say (keeping in mind that Mr. Brians is one of them?) To find out, let's examine two of the most authoritative sources on the subject of English grammar. "The Little, Brown Handbook" (11th ed) and The OWL at Purdue (http://owl.english.purdue.edu...) both give us more detail than Mr. Brians has.

What we find, when we actually examine the authoritative sources, is that the two words are interchangeable when referring to things in restrictive clauses, however they are not interchangeable when referring to things in non-restrictive clauses (where only "which" should be used,) nor are they interchangeable when referring to people (where only "that" or "who" should be used, but "which" should never be used.)

Even in the cases where the two words are technically interchangeable, use of "which" is considered more formal, and there are several cases when "that" is more appropriate than, and is preferred to "which".

Below are the cases where "that" and "which" are not interchangeable. The last one especially, I'm sure even Mr. Brians will agree with.

1) While it is the case that both "that" and "which" can be used in restrictive clauses, only the later can be used in non-restrictive clauses.
���He made an iceberg Caesar salad, which didn't taste quite right. (correct)
���He made an iceberg Caesar salad, that didn't taste quite right. (incorrect)

2) There are several cases when "that" is more appropriate than "which".
���A) After pronouns that refer to quantities.
������Every detail that you can remember will be helpful. (correct)
������Every detail which you can remember will be helpful. (incorrect)
���B) After verbs that answer the question "what?"
������Mike says that you better get out of the shower. (correct)
������Mike says which you better get out of the shower. (incorrect)
���C) After a noun modified by a superlative adjective
������He sat in the biggest chair that was in the house. (correct)
������He sat in the biggest chair which was in the house. (incorrect)
���D) After ordinal numbers
������The first car that crossed the finish line was blue. (correct)
������The first car which crossed the finish line was blue. (incorrect)
���E) If the verb in the main clause is a form of "BE"
������The living room was the one that the man died in. (correct)
������The living room was the one which the man died in. (incorrect)

3) "That" can be used to refer to people, whereas "which" cannot. For example:
���JD is the man that does the voice over on Scrubs. (correct)
���JD is the man who does the voice over on Scrubs. (correct)
���JD is the character which does the voice over on Scrubs. (incorrect)
Debate Round No. 1
PoeJoe

Pro

Before I begin, I'd like to remind my opponent that the word "however" is not a coordinating conjunction in the English language (http://www.chompchomp.com...). I've seen him make this mistake not only in this debate but in many of his others as well, and I would like to remind him that the only coordinating conjunctions that exist in the English language are "for," "and," "nor," "but," "or," "yet," and "so." I've listed them in their present order to form the mnemonic "FANBOYS," which I suspect will be easier to remember.

Also curious is how my American opponent chooses to place the comma after the end quotation mark when the two marks are placed together. I say "curious," because such style is indicative of British writers, not American.

But I should really stop myself. After all, such style choices do not matter. In fact, they don't even affect the readability of my opponent's opening argument. His style choices are his style choices, and there is no intrinsic reason for me to nitpick. For that matter, how did such "rules"--which my opponent has broken on multiple accounts in his opening argument--ever come to be in the first place?

As it turns out, the which/that distinction first came into being with Henry W. Fowler's "A Dictionary of Modern English Usage." Luckily for my opponent and me and the audience, the original, historic book was republished in 2009, so we can find it at any major library.

In this book, we can find Fowler's original proposal to distinguish between "that" and "which." Quickly after making this proposal, though, Fowler concedes that it is "not the practice of most or of the best writers." In addition, Fowler argues against ending sentences with prepositions and using split infinitives, suggestions which both my opponent and I know are archaic. (See: http://books.google.com..., on page 635)

Simply put, Fowler's "rules" are outdated. Even such conservative grammarians as E. B. White, author of the monumental "The Elements of Style," has written such lines as, "the premature expiration of a pig is, I soon discovered, a departure which the community marks solemnly on its calendar." (See: http://books.google.com...)

The that/which distinction was poorly invented by a man who also invented so called "rules" that virtually no one follows today. There is no distinction between restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses, just as it is not incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition or to split an infinitive. My opponent called my examples "anecdotal" and "incorrect"--my opponent also seems to have ignored my quote from the "American Heritage Book of English Usage"--but he fails to realize that the majority simply do no follow such archaic rules.

This is the definition of "which" provided by the Webster's New World College Dictionary: "that: used as a relative referring to the thing, group, or event specified in the antecedent word, phrase, or clause: which can be used in a restrictive clause, in a restrictive clause preceded by the pronoun that, in a nonrestrictive clause, or, archaically, of a person."

These are two definitions of "which" provided by "The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language": "Used as a relative pronoun in a clause that provides additional information about the antecedent" and "Used instead of that as a relative pronoun in a clause that defines or restricts the antecedent."

This is from the definition provided by "Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary": "used as the subject or object of a verb to show what thing or things you are referring to, or to add information about the thing just mentioned."

I could go on and on...

No, my examples are not anecdotal. They are consensus.

So, to sum up, the relative pronouns "that" and "which" are entirely interchangeable because (1) there is no intrinsic benefit in having such a distinction, (2) many professional writers and journalists make no such distinction, (3) most professional style guides and dictionaries make no such distinction, and (4) there has never been any historical precedent for such a distinction and such a distinction was indeed proposed by too conservative a grammarian who admits himself that there is no historical precedent. The distinction between "that" and "which" is similar to ending sentences with prepositions and splitting infinitives: all these "rules" are merely those that have been perpetuated by pretentious and chauvinistic grammarians who know nothing of the current English landscape.
daniel_t

Con

=== Digression ===

My opponent chooses to digress and discuss a grammar rule that I broke in my previous argument. I see that I did use "however" incorrectly in one of the two instances, and I probably have used it incorrectly on previous occasions. As for my use of commas outside the quotation marks, this is an international forum, not purely American, so using the European English style of quotation is perfectly acceptable here. (I also hold my knife and fork in the European style while eating...)

My opponent implies that my personal oversight of a particular rule indicates that some or all other rules can be ignored. This is obviously a fallacy of faulty generalization.

I agree with my opponent; he should have stopped himself.

=== Rebuttal ===

My opponent thinks that the fact that I did not address his quote from the "American Heritage Book of English Usage" is a point in his favor, but it is not. Let's examine the quote now to show why:

��������Some people extend the rule and insist that, just as 'that' should
��������be used only in restrictive clauses, 'which' should be used only in
��������nonrestrictive clauses... This use of 'which' with restrictive
��������clauses is very common, even in edited prose.

We can easily see that the quote agrees with the information I posted in the first round (both "that" and "which" can be used with restrictive clauses.) In other words, the quote agrees with my contention, so there is nothing there for me to rebut.

My opponent then goes on to discuss the invention of the rule noted in the "American Heritage Book of English Usage", a rule which I have already agreed isn't valid. He is focusing on the fact that the usage of "that" and "which" in restrictive clauses are interchangeable and generalizing to say they are therefore interchangeable in *all* cases, but as I have already shown, this is not true.

My opponent's quotes from various dictionaries are not helpful without the definitions for the word "that" from the very same dictionaries. Meanwhile here is what I found in the "Oxford American Dictionary" under the word "restrictive":

��������In writing, a restrictive relative clause is not set off by commas,
��������and: "that" is the preferred subject or object of the clause,
��������although many writers use "which" and "who" or "whom" for such
��������clauses. A nonrestrictive clause is set off within commas, and
��������"which", "who", or "whom", not "that", is the relative pronoun to
��������use as the subject or object of the verb of the clause.

Like my previous two sources this one also tells us that "that" and "which" are interchangeable for restrictive clauses, but "that" should *not* be used in nonrestrictive clauses.

My opponent also says, "... my examples are not anecdotal. They are consensus." Sorry, but eight examples does *not* create a consensus.

Lastly, among other things my opponent says, "most professional style guides and dictionaries make no such distinction." I have already presented citations that show that two of the most prominent style guides do in fact make a distinction as I outlined in my first round, and here is another.

The Chicago Manual of Style 15th ed. also agrees with OWL at Purdue and The Little Brown Handbook, saying "Some people use 'which' restrictively, which is more or less okay (and popular among writers of British English) as long as no commas are involved." It still requires that non-restrictive clauses start with "which" and not "that".
(http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org... .html)

=== Argument (Continuation from round 1) ===

My opponent continues to stress the rule that "that" and "which" are interchangeable in *restrictive* clauses, despite the fact that I have already conceded this particular point. This does *not* mean that they are "entirely interchangeable" as specified in the resolution.

As I stated in round one, and Pro did not rebut, "that" cannot be used in a non-restrictive clause, and "that" can be substituted for "who" but "which" cannot. Because these facts still stand, a vote for Con is called for.
Debate Round No. 2
PoeJoe

Pro

My opponent has set up many straw men.

My opponent stated that I chose to "digress and discuss a grammar rule that [he] broke in my previous argument." Such was not digression. I mentioned my opponent's non-American style to set up my argument of intrinsic benefit: just as there is no intrinsic benefit in placing a comma before the end quotation, so is there no intrinsic benefit to distinguishing between the words "that" and "which." Grammar must have basis. For example, the grammatical community shuns misplaced modifiers, because they often produce ambiguities (e.g. after rotting, my brother thought the apples tasted bad). But what is the intrinsic benefit to distinguishing between "that" and "which"? My opponent has not provided one. Why? Because there simply isn't one. This has not been contested.

My opponent stated that I went on to "to discuss the invention of the rule noted in the 'American Heritage Book of English Usage'" and that I was "focusing on the fact that the usage of 'that' and 'which' in restrictive clauses are interchangeable and generalizing to say they are therefore interchangeable in *all* cases, but as I have already shown, this is not true."

My opponent is missing the point. There are no such things as "restrictive" and "nonrestrictive" clauses. Such terminology was *invented* by Fowler.

But let's entertain the idea. Let us suppose, for the moment, that there is such a distinction. Even still, one can change a restrictive clause to a nonrestrictive clause and vice versa, and do so easily. "The dog which is sick hounded" means the same thing as "The dog that is sick hounded" means the exact same thing as "The dog, which is sick, hounded." I'll even use my opponent's incorrect examples and fix them.

In the first example, the problem is not the word "which" but the comma. Under any circumstance, the comma is entirely unnecessary, and removing the comma makes no change to the meaning whatsoever:

��He made an iceberg Caesar salad, that didn't taste quite right. (incorrect)
��He made an iceberg Caesar salad that didn't taste quite right. (correct)
��He made an iceberg Caesar salad which didn't taste quite right. (correct)

In the second example, the "incorrect" examples are still correct. The webpage only goes so far as to say that one may be "more preferable" to another. I agree with this. But still, they are interchangeable.

��Every detail that you can remember will be helpful. (correct)
��Every detail which you can remember will be helpful. (correct)
��(My opponent agreed that "which" can be used for restrictive clauses, yet he says the second example is incorrect?)

��Mike says which you better get out of the shower. (incorrect)
��Mike says that you better get out of the shower. (correct)
��(Whoa, whoa, whoa. Here, the word "that" is being used as a conjunction. This example is irrelevant.)
��(See the second definition under "conjunction": http://www.thefreedictionary.com...)
��(Such faulty research discredits your source. I am astounded, personally. This is a very basic concept.)

��He sat in the biggest chair that was in the house. (correct)
��He sat in the biggest chair which was in the house. (correct)
��(My opponent agreed that "which" can be used for restrictive clauses, yet he says the second example is incorrect?)

��The first car that crossed the finish line was blue. (correct)
��The first car which crossed the finish line was blue. (correct)
��(My opponent agreed that "which" can be used for restrictive clauses, yet he says the second example is incorrect?)

��The living room was the one that the man died in. (correct)
��The living room was the one which the man died in. (correct)
��(My opponent agreed that "which" can be used for restrictive clauses, yet he says the second example is incorrect?)
��(It would appear that my opponent is disagreeing with his very own source.)

In the third example, the word "which" is obviously not preferable. But it is still grammatically justifiable. I again point my opponent to the Webster's New World College Dictionary, in which one of the definitions for "which" that can be found is "'which' can be used... in a nonrestrictive clause, or, archaically, of a person." My opponent may want to highlight the word "archaically," but my argument is not about what is preferable. Certainly the word "which" to describe a person is not preferable, but it is still grammatically justifiable, as there is no change in meaning. The usage even has historical precedent: "Our Father, which art in heaven."

��JD is the man that does the voice over on Scrubs. (correct)
��JD is the man who does the voice over on Scrubs. (correct)
��JD is the man which does the voice over on Scrubs. (correct, although not preferable)

My opponent stated, "My opponent also says, '... my examples are not anecdotal. They are consensus.' Sorry, but eight examples does *not* create a consensus."

I provided those examples to introduce the topic, for they were professional examples which I've come across just recently. To fully support my stance, I have provided numerous dictionary definitions, numerous style guides, a college professor, professional examples, and a history of how the false distinction between "restrictive" and "nonrestrictive" and between "that" and "which" came to be.

For a grammatical rule to have a purpose, it should have reason. The distinction between "that" and "which" does not have such a reason. For a grammatical to have foundation, it should have consensus. The distinction between "that" and "which" does not have consensus. My opponent has provided a few minor sources that spout information contrary to that of my sources. But the very existence of this agreement shows that this "rule" does not stand.

This is from my last round. It was a nice summary of my argument. I will thus repeat it with annotation:

The relative pronouns "that" and "which" are entirely interchangeable because (1) there is no intrinsic benefit (my opponent has yet to point one out), (2) many professional writers and journalists make no such distinction (my opponent goes so far as to say that these professionals are habitually doing it wrong), (3) most professional style guides and dictionaries make no such distinction (I have cited numerous dictionaries and style guides as well as provided examples), and (4) there has never been any historical precedent for such a distinction and such a distinction was indeed proposed by too conservative a grammarian who admits himself that there is no historical precedent. The distinction between "that" and "which" is similar to ending sentences with prepositions and splitting infinitives: all these "rules" are merely those that have been perpetuated by pretentious and chauvinistic grammarians who know nothing of the current English landscape.
daniel_t

Con

My opponent seems to be trying to shift the argument somewhat. He is now adding to the claim, saying "There are no such things as 'restrictive' and 'nonrestrictive' clauses." His original claim was just a little misguided, I can see where he might have been thinking of restrictive clauses when forming his resolution and accidentally made the resolution too general. But this new claim is down right incredible! No professional writer follows this new claim.

He then goes on to mess with the examples, but remember he has no adequate justification for his comments about the examples (see item 3 below,) so they are nothing more than the restating of his claim.

Let's pick apart his summary:

(1) there is no intrinsic benefit (my opponent has yet to point one out)...

Even his own sources point out the benefit of having restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses. Non restrictive clauses can be safely ignored when attempting to identify the object/subject under discussion.

"The books in the library that Martha owns are moldy." has a different meaning than "The books in the library, which Martha owns, are moldy." The former implies that Martha only owns some of the books in the library and all of her books are moldy. The latter sentence implies that *all* of the books in the library are moldy and that Martha owns all of them. Even if we use "which" for the restrictive clause in the former sentence, the meanings are still different.

(2) many professional writers and journalists make no such distinction...

Is this claim true? We only have eight examples to go on. Some of the readers of this debate may know if this claim is true or false, but they certainly wouldn't know from any of the information presented in *this* debate. Is he talking here about the difference between restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses or only the difference between "that" vs "which"? Do any of his examples show "which" referring to a person as "that" can be? I think not.

(3) most professional style guides and dictionaries make no such distinction...

Answering this claim allows me to segue into my own summation... Let's look at all the professional style guides that have been sourced so far:

* The OWL at Purdue
* The Little Brown Handbook
* The Chicago Manual of Style
* The American Heritage Book of English Usage

As I have already shown, *all* these guides, including the one sourced by Pro, agree with my position.

"In the United States, most non-journalism writing follows the Chicago Manual of Style, while most newspapers base their style on the Associated Press Stylebook." (http://en.wikipedia.org...)

To the list, I will add the AP Stylebook. It also makes the distinction between restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses (it calls them essential and nonessential clauses:)

��������"That" is the preferred pronoun to introduce essential clauses that
��������refer to an inanimate object or an animal without a name. "Which" is
��������the *only* acceptable pronoun to introduce a nonessential clause
��������that refers to an inanimate object or an animal without a name.
��������[stress added]

There is no controversy, all of the professional style guides agree.

Dictionaries, deal with word definition, not word usage (grammar,) and can be discounted as useful sources for the purposes of this debate.

The only other source cited was Professor Brians' website. I sent an email to Professor Brians to ask him for more detail on the subject. He replied, "I generally like Michael Quinion's page on the subject: http://www.worldwidewords.org...;

Something important to note here is that Michael Quinion "writes on international English from a British viewpoint." So what does he say on the subject:

��������... most modern grammar guides have caught up with the way people
��������actually use the language and now say that either relative pronoun
��������can be used with restrictive clauses.

The key point to note in this quote from Mr. Quinion is that the style guides that have been sourced do not attempt to change current usage; rather they *reflect current usage*. More importantly, Mr. Quinion goes on to say:

��������One key proviso: though you can use which instead of that in
��������restrictive clauses, you can't do so the other way round:
��������non-restrictive clauses ought always to start with which.

Once again, "that" and "which" are not *entirely interchangeable*. Even the source provided by Professor Brians agrees with my position.

Voting for Con in this debate will mean that you agree with *every* authoritative source that has been cited.
Debate Round No. 3
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
I can't reference the AP Stylebook or Chicago Manual of Style anymore (I returned them,) but the Little Brown Handbook agrees with your source:

        'That' refers to animals and things and occasionally to persons
        when they are collective or anonymous.

And The American Heritage Book of English Usage agrees with The OWL:

        Some people say that you can only use 'who' and not 'that' to
        introduce a restrictive relative clause that identifies a person.
        But 'that' has been used in this way for centuries. It is a
        quintessential English usage, going back to the Old English
        period, and has been used by our best writers. So it is entirely
        acceptable to write either 'the man that wanted to talk to you' or
        'the man who wanted to talk to you.'
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
daniel, Interesting. The only exception they give is for spoken speech. I hadn't thought about it, but I guess quite a few things are allowed in spoken speech that are not in written speech.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
The site you are looking at is set up to advertise a programming product. Try a more authoritative source.

http://owl.english.purdue.edu...
"""
The relative pronoun that can only be used in defining clauses. It can also be substituted for who (referring to persons) or which (referring to things). That is often used in speech; who and which are more common in written English.

William Kellogg was the man that lived in the late 19th century and had some weird ideas about raising children. - spoken, less formal
William Kellogg was the man who lived in the late 19th century and had some weird ideas about raising children. - written, more formal
"""
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
daniel, Your third point uses "that" for a single person, which is wrong. For a single person, it should be "who." "That" is used only for a class or type of person. I had no idea until I looked it up.

This was an excellent debate because it was thought-provoking and well-argued on both sides.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
RoyLatham: "I subsequently found, "In modern speech, 'which' refers only to things. 'Who' (or its forms whom and whose) refers only to people. 'That' normally refers to things but it may refer to a class or type of person.""

That was item 3 in my round one argument.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
An interesting and well-argued debate. I subsequently found, "In modern speech, 'which' refers only to things. 'Who' (or its forms whom and whose) refers only to people. 'That' normally refers to things but it may refer to a class or type of person." Example: "They are the type of people that would lie to their mothers." would not be acceptable with "which." http://englishplus.com...

Also, I am reminded of Winston Churchill's "Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put." In general it seems "with which" cannot be replaced by "with that." Ex: "The wrench with which the defendant struck my client is here on the table."

A very close debate based on the arguments made. Since Pro had the burden of proof, I'll give he edge to Con.
Posted by SexyLatina 7 years ago
SexyLatina
This was a thoroughly interesting debate which I took great pleasure in reading; that other people are so interested in grammar brings me a warm fuzziness deep in the frozen center of my chest cavity.
I voted Pro on the final three criteria in the voting table, as well as the second criterion. I voted Con on the first criterion. I left the "conduct" criterion in its default position of "tied".

To conclude: I would like to encourage all of you to vote Pro because PoeJoe started an interesting debate and defended it in a way that was admirable, though perhaps over-the-top. Who cares that much about GRAMMAR? Geez. Admirable!
Posted by ciphermind 7 years ago
ciphermind
BEFORE: Pro
AFTER: Con
CONDUCT: Con (Pro made an attack based on opponent's grammar)
SPELLING AND GRAMMAR: TIE. Don't honestly care.
ARGUMENTS: Con convinced me of his position effectively, even though I was in pro's camp to start.
SOURCES: Grammar software ad? Really pro?
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
I just got another email from professor Brians. He said, "If you haven't checked the American Heritage Book of English Usage, look at it. It's the one I agree most with on this point."

Professor Brians is solidly in my camp it seems.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
Thanks PoeJoe, this was an interesting debate and I learned a lot from it. Your a good debater.

RFD:
Before: Tied (I had no opinion on the subject.)
After: Con
Conduct: Tie
Spelling and Grammar: Tie (I don't vote one way or the other on this subject unless there were egregious errors by one of the participants.)
Convincing Arguments: Con. This debate was all about what the rules say, and the rules on this subject are clear and unambiguous.
Reliable Sources: Con. Every professional grammar source agreed with Con's position. The only sources Pro had were a single .com and some dictionary references.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by biopep 7 years ago
biopep
PoeJoedaniel_tTied
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
PoeJoedaniel_tTied
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Vote Placed by SexyLatina 7 years ago
SexyLatina
PoeJoedaniel_tTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Vote Placed by ciphermind 7 years ago
ciphermind
PoeJoedaniel_tTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
PoeJoedaniel_tTied
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Total points awarded:05