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The joining words who, which and that

We use who when referring to people. We use which or that when referring to things or animals.

  • The girl came from India. She was welcomed into the school.
  • The girl who came from India was welcomed into the school.
  • The dress was bought last week. The dress has shrunk.
  • The dress which was bought last week has shrunk.

Note that we can use that in place of whom when referring to people.

  • The man whom the police were looking for is dead. (OR The man that the police were looking for is dead.)

Other examples are given below.

  • Alice is a clever girl. She has been chosen for the quiz.
  • Alice, who is a clever girl, has been chosen for the quiz.
  • The beaver is a hard-working animal. It is a native of Canada.
  • The beaver, which is a hard-working animal, is a native of Canada.
  • Peter won the tournament. He plays everyday.
  • Peter, who plays everyday, won the tournament.
  • The jet was grounded. It had engine trouble.
  • The jet, which was grounded, had engine trouble. OR The jet that was grounded had engine trouble.