Seen in a National workforce report: “… top performers are the ones thatwill become invaluable … through the economic downturn.” Should be: who
Apparently, our preference and our usage reflects a strict adherence to an interpretation of the reference to animate vs. inanimate nouns* (see usage note below), and even more strictly, distinguishing human animateness from other life-like forms.
Yikes, that’s confusing! What do we mean? Simply, we like who for any reference to people and that for any reference to things (or animals).
4.(usedrelativelyinrestrictiveandnonrestrictiveclausestorepresentaspecifiedantecedent,theantecedentbeingapersonorsometimesananimalorpersonifiedthing)** (see comment below):Anykidwhowantstocanlearntoswim.
*Usage note:That is used to refer to animate and inanimate nouns and thus can substitute in most uses for who(m) … Many of the workers that (or who) built the pyramids died while working.
**Comment: Experienced writers choose among these forms not only on the basis of grammar and the kind of noun referred to but also on the basis of sound of the sentence and their own personal preference.
So, we were humbled by our research and although we are pleased to have Grammar Girl on our side, we will let up on those (people) whothat choose to use that in certain references to humans.
Given several untimely celebrity deaths of-late, and the content of our yesterday’s blog post on the multiple definitions of words, this post is eerily related.
We saw this People Magazine news headline today, and it just reinforced the fact that our English language is complex. Many words have many meanings and perceptions can frequently transport us among those meanings …
“Quincy Jones Tears Up When Hearing Michael’s Music”
We are truly not trying to be irreverent here … let’s just take a look at an interesting four-letter word: tear.
1.tear. noun. pronounced [teer]
a drop of the saline, watery fluid continually secreted by the lacrimal glands between the surface of the eye and the eyelid, serving to moisten and lubricate these parts and keep them clear of foreign particles.
this fluid appearing in or flowing from the eye as the result of emotion, esp. grief.
something resembling or suggesting a tear, as a drop of a liquid or a tearlike mass of a solid substance, esp. having a spherical or globular shape at one end and tapering to a point at the other.
Glassmaking. a decorative air bubble enclosed in a glass vessel; air bell.
tears, grief; sorrow.
tear. verb (used without object)
to fill up and overflow with tears, as the eyes.
2.tear. verb (used with object). pronounced [tair]
to pull apart or in pieces by force, esp. so as to leave ragged or irregular edges.
to pull or snatch violently; wrench away with force: to tear wrappings from a package; to tear a book from someone’s hands.
to distress greatly: anguish that tears the heart.
to divide or disrupt: a country torn by civil war.
to wound or injure by or as if by rending; lacerate.
to produce or effect by rending: to tear a hole in one’s coat.
to remove by force or effort: to be unable to tear oneself from a place.
tear. verb (used without object)
to become torn.
to make a tear or rent.
to move or behave with force, violent haste, or energy: The wind tore through the trees; cars tearing up and down the highway; I was tearing around all afternoon trying to find sandals for the beach.
“I get an unusual amount of people offering me MLM, etc.” Should be: number
Since individual persons (people) can be counted, use the word “number” to refer to quantity. Now, we could turn this sentence around to properly use the word “amount” … “I get an unusual amount of MLM offered to me by people …”