that vs which

In editing the sequel to Weekend Plans, I came across a lot of instances of “that” and “which”. I was recently chatting with some friends at a munch and we were trying to figure out the difference.

According to, “that” creates a restrictive clause, which is to say: if you remove the clause starting with “that”, you change the meaning of the sentence. “Which”, on the other hand, creates a non-restrictive clause — one simply adding additional information but not materially changing the meaning of the sentence.

However, as a writer, I don’t really pay attention to those rules. I learned them back when I was taking English classes and working as a tutor and English professor, but nowadays I go with what “feels” right. Sometimes “that” and “which” are interchangeable in my writing; sometimes they’re not. It really just depends.

But what I do know is this: it’s very difficult to write without using either one. I managed it in this blog post, but that was a difficult process which required me to do a lot of editing.

(See what I did there?)

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