'Which' vs 'that' - Page 3


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Thread: 'Which' vs 'that'

  1. #21
    Yair . . .

    Thanks for your explanations John Oberon.

    My question is how much do these niceties matter in everyday fiction?

    Do educated folks who are aware of the rules notice errors such as these as they casually read a passage of text?

    I know I make lots of grammatical errors through want of better knowledge and perhaps that's why my dialogue percentage of a tale is always rather high. (Grin)

    I absolutely agree with getting things 'right' but to me such details make little difference to the story . . . or do they bother you?

    Cheers.

  2. #22
    Honestly, it depends on why I'm reading a piece. If I'm just reading for enjoyment, I'd probably fly right past a which/that mistake with barely a wobble, as long as the context made the meaning plain. However, I critique so often, it's become sort of a state of mind, and it's difficult for me to read just for enjoyment anymore. If I'm critiquing, it stands out like a sore thumb. In my own writing, I definitely notice it, because I'm an exacting SOB when it comes to my own writing.

    I think the average reader would probably not even notice a which/that mistake, but as with all mistakes, there are some circumstances where it can become more glaring than others.
    John Oberon
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  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by scrub puller View Post
    Yair . . .

    My question is how much do these niceties matter in everyday fiction?

    Do educated folks who are aware of the rules notice errors such as these as they casually read a passage of text?

    I know I make lots of grammatical errors through want of better knowledge and perhaps that's why my dialogue percentage of a tale is always rather high. (Grin)

    I absolutely agree with getting things 'right' but to me such details make little difference to the story . . . or do they bother you?

    Cheers.
    How much do the details matter in other professions? Do you want the mechanic working on your truck to cut corners because he doesn't think you'll notice? It's the difference between writing well, and writing 'well-enough', the difference between professionalism and amateurism. The details do matter to casual readers even though they might not be able to put a finger on why.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

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  4. #24
    Yair . . .

    Gotcha John Oberon thanks for your reply which seems entirely reasonable . . . and I must say Terry D that I don't think the odd misplaced comma or an occasional "which" instead of "that" is going to matter a damn to the reader who puts up with the sometimes tortured (although possibly grammatically correct) text of Chuck Palahniuk, Hemingway and others.

    Having said that I believe all writers should strive for "correctness" but at my stage I certainly won't be stressing out over such details.

    Cheers.

  5. #25
    I don't consider which vs that a detail, any more than I consider the proper use of to vs too vs two, or their vs there, details. I'm not saying I get it right every time, or that I'm going to go running to Grammar Girl for each which/that decision, but, at some point in the editing process I will do what it takes to get it right. If I don't, I'm giving myself permission to be sloppy, and I hate sloppy writing even if the story is good. I learned a long time ago that one's highest level of performance will be exactly equal to his/her minimum expectations. But that's just me.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

    Hidden Content






  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Terry D View Post
    I don't consider which vs that a detail, any more than I consider the proper use of to vs too vs two, or their vs there, details. I'm not saying I get it right every time, or that I'm going to go running to Grammar Girl for each which/that decision, but, at some point in the editing process I will do what it takes to get it right. If I don't, I'm giving myself permission to be sloppy, and I hate sloppy writing even if the story is good. I learned a long time ago that one's highest level of performance will be exactly equal to his/her minimum expectations. But that's just me.
    And me too. My writing as good as I can make it down to the last bit of grammar, or nobody reads it. I hate when anyone sees something wrong with my writing. I'm always scouring my website for any errors on my part. I don't mind if others write to me with errors, but I do my absolute best not to include any errors in my own writing. Even if most readers would probably not catch an error, I would, and it's not going to exist in my writing if I can help it.
    John Oberon
    Hidden Content

  7. #27
    Yair . . .

    Gotcha fellas, no worries, each to his own. As mentioned, I don't stress out over what in fact are "details".

    My sheets don't come back from edit with too many mark-ups and if it's good enough for folks who are paid to find glitches it's good enough for me.

    The ability to impart feeling and texture and life into a story and to arouse the reader and to make him/her laugh or cry can be achieved with a basic understanding of language and punctuation . . . the exquisite academic niceties and nuances are all very well but (in my opinion) not at all necessary to tell a decent tale.

    Cheers.

  8. #28
    I agree with you for the most part, Scrub. Most people will not notice as long as the meaning is clear. However, every so often, language circumstances can conspire to solidify those "niceties and nuances" into problems and errors. As long as your editor isn't bodgy, you're ace. Your posts seem to exhibit a firm grasp of the fundamentals. I think you'll do fine. But me...sometimes I wish I weren't such a picky perfectionist. I might enjoy it more.
    John Oberon
    Hidden Content

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