The Who’s Who’s on Who and That

As a freelance writer, I often check myself to make sure that I use certain words properly such as “who and that.” I recently wrote a personal statement for JFK University and had to look this one up. I had a “gut instinct” that I was using ‘who’ correctly, but wanted to make sure.

Apparently, you can use ‘who and that’ interchangeably. Normally, you used use ‘who’ when you are describing a person. For example, “Sara is who Matt is dating.” Who describes a person. Many people are know to use ‘that’ instead. Some people use ‘that’ to show their animosity towards someone.
For example, “Sara is that model looking woman dating Matt.”

The use of ‘that’ is to describe an object. For example, “The blue dress that Emily bought brings out her eyes.” Of course, some people will use ‘that’ to describe a person as in the example in the above paragraph.

Small business owners who send out newsletters may want to check their freelance writer’s work before it goes to customers. They could be misusing ‘who and that’ and you would never know it. Then again you may not care, but your customers may. One of your customers may be a former English teacher! Hopefully, she’s the teacher ‘who’ will overlook the errors. Otherwise, your newsletter could be ‘that’ thing to send her over the edge!

Savvy Writer Rebecca

When have you used who and that lately?