That vs. Who

The general rule is: a person is a who; a thing is a that. You would say: Is this the chair that has a broken leg? and Is he the man who has a broken leg? An anonymous animal is a that but an animal with a name is a who. For example: Was it Fifi who bit the mailman? but Was it a stray dog that bit the mailman?
It has now become acceptable to use that when referring to a person. However, using who often helps the understanding of a sentence that contains both a person and a thing. It makes it easier to understand to whom (or to which) you are referring.
Get all volumes of The Farlex Grammar Book in paperback or eBook.
Share Tweet

Conversations