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Write the Right Word: That vs. Who

The pronouns “who” and “that” should not be used interchangeably, despite common usage.

Always use “who” when referring to people and animals with names. For example: “Producers who were forced to delay planting in the spring may have lower yields at harvest.” “Bootsie, who doesn’t like riding in the car, yowled all the way to the vet clinic.”

Only use “that” when referring to inanimate objects and animals without names. For example: “The trees that were killed by Dutch elm disease have been removed.” “All of the cows that were pregnant this spring have calved.”

Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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