Who vs. That and Which

How to use "who," "that," and "which" correctly

This is an entry on my list of Common Errors in English Usage. Visit the main page for direct links to additional entries.

Traditional grammar authorities insist that the pronoun who should be used to refer to any noun or pronoun indicating people; that or which should be used for any other noun or pronoun:

student that got the highest score
student who got the highest score

pigeon who pooped on my car
pigeon that pooped on my car

Related Resources

Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English

List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list

Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage

List of Common Errors in English Usage: PDF version

© 2006, 2008, and 2019 C. Brantley Collins, Jr.