spoken & written usage

Subject: spoken & written usage
From: Ronald Lee Stone <ston0030 -at- GOLD -dot- TC -dot- UMN -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 10 Nov 1994 23:58:30 -0500

Vicki Rosenzweig writes about certain usages:

> I'll edit them
> out in print, but I don't worry
> if I hear someone say them.

I agree with Vicki here, although when I find
myself saying something that I would edit in
writing, I will sometimes be concerned.

For example, I will change

< The student _that_ writes the best essay gets
< published in the anthology.


< The student _who_ writes the best essay gets
< published in the anthology.

This may not even be as much of a grammatical issue
as a stylistic one, because the relative pronoun 'that'
_can_ be used for a person or persons. Yet the use of
'who' for a person or persons can be more informative,
and sometimes even grammatically necessary.

Anyway, in a recent conversation I found myself say
'that' as a relative pronoun for a person and wondered
how that might happen, especially after suggesting the
use of 'who' in such a case as a teacher. I chalked it
to a usage difference between speaking and writing.

Until later,


Ronald L. Stone : ston0030 -at- gold -dot- tc -dot- umn -dot- edu : (612) 644-9706
graduate student : Scientific & Technical Communication
Department of Rhetoric : University of Minnesota, St. Paul

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