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Pedants' corner

That or who?

(7 Posts)
BradfordLass72 Fri 25-Jan-19 09:19:28

I would like to know which is correct.

I feel quite annoyed when I hear, as I so often do, sentences such as: 'People that speak like this...' and 'the person that did it...'

I was taught at school, "that is for inanimate objects and
who is for people".
Therefore, the above should be: 'People who speak like this...' and 'the person who did it...'

But is that correct?

Carolina55 Fri 25-Jan-19 09:35:21

I remember being taught ‘who for humans, that for anything else’. As in The man who crashed his car, the dog that ate the biscuit and the tree that fell in the storm.

RosieLeah Fri 25-Jan-19 09:45:43

I despair at the corruption of the English language. I don't understand how or why this is happening. There are so many phrases creeping in which are incorrect. Even BBC English is degenerating. Perhaps this is simply a reflection of the general decline in all standards?

oldgimmer1 Fri 25-Jan-19 09:55:29

I think more noticeable sloppiness is inevitable given the amount of air time taken up by randoms being interviewed in the street just to fill time.

Social media seems to have had the same effect.

I agree that standards seem to have slipped though - even on R4 which was, for me, always a safe haven for correct speech.

I cannot abide "haitch", "less rather than "fewer"; "amount" rather than "number".

That's just for starters.

Rufus2 Fri 25-Jan-19 11:02:42

Good Evening; I blame Ernie Wise always talking about the plays "what he wrote!"
Was watching a Morecambe and Wise Christmas special on U-Tube recently and even Glenda Jackson condoned it. grin

MaizieD Fri 25-Jan-19 11:13:55

'Who' for people, 'that' for everything else.

I know that language changes over time but I can't help thinking that its current change is accelerated by a generation educated in the 1980s, '90s and early 2000s when 'rules' of grammar and syntax were generally ignored by teachers in favour of 'creativity' and 'authenticity' of expression. We now have generations of teachers who don't know what used to be 'correct' and find it difficult to learn and pass on to their pupils.

Also, written texts are riddled with poor grammar so reading, which used to be a good way to access good models of language use, doesn't help any more.

Please don't tell me that they have to teach grammar in schools today; they do, but whoever devised the curriculum did it in such a way that most children, having to learn technical stuff which was previously O & A level standard, probably lose the will to live after a few lessons grin

grandtanteJE65 Sun 03-Feb-19 11:32:46

As far as I was taught, that and which can be used when referring to people, animals and inanimate things, whereas who and whom should only be applied to human beings. The rule does not apply strangely enough to whose, any longer, although I suppose we should use its or theirs of animals and inanimate objects.