Quick Win #2: Who vs. That

Who vs. ThatQuick Win #2: Who vs. That

I’m not even going to bother delving into the whole who vs. whom discussion. Instead, I’m going to focus on who vs. that. 

It’s generally accepted that who refers to a person or people, and that refers to an object or group of objects. Grammatically speaking you are allowed to use that when referring to a person, however, doing so often sounds as though you are reducing a person to an object.

There are many people to whom (see what I did there?) this matters, and when they hear that used in reference to a person, it’s like nails on a chalkboard.

For instance, to many people this sounds extremely awkward:

Henry is someone that will achieve his dreams.

Whereas, this sounds warmer and more friendly:

Henry is someone who will achieve his dreams.

So if you would like to be perceived as thoughtful, polished and professional to all those in earshot, start swapping your that for who.

What is our ‘Quick Win’ series?

Quick Wins are very small, straightforward tips that will give you that little bit of extra polish.

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