Home / Business Writing / How do you know if it’s that or which? Or sometimes who?

How do you know if it’s that or which? Or sometimes who?

headshot2013I am working with client whose consultants are responsible for writing big, complex reports for their clients.  The problem with so many people writing for the same company their indivdual styles do not always reflect the organisation.  So we are working to produce a style guide so everyone knows the protocols and the processes. It is an important part of marketing strategy not confusing the customers by veering away from the chosen brand.

The guide includes simple things like agreeing that emails will be described as emails not Emails, e-mails or e.mails.  It will include guidelines on the font to be used and its size and where the logo goes on the document cover.  Everything that any new person joining can check to ensure they are presenting the organisation consistently to its customers.

Then there are ground rules for English grammar.  So many use the language intuitively without knowing if it is read in the same way as it’s written.    There are the commonly confused words to check out like principle and principal or historic or historical and then we discovered how many people really didn’t know the difference between that and which!


This is how we are including it in our style guide.

‘That’ defines the sentence while ‘which’ adds information. “This is the house that Jack built but this house which Jill built is falling down.

“The workshop, which was held in June, was the first one that they had attended”

Please note – the sentence will remain grammatical if you took away that but not if you took away which.

However when it comes to people we don’t use that we use who.  We are meeting the men who are coming from London – not that are coming from London

It’s simple and makes all the difference when writing documents you really want your reader to understand.

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More language tips and report writing structures can be found in the Report Writing made Easy






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