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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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« How to Be Assertive, Not Pushy | Main | Ignore or Acknowledge a Brief Apology? »

March 09, 2017



Fowler covers it. As do Bremner and Garner. But explore other options, such as a candidate with plenty of money. And make those options part of your natural speech pattern. Most people will find it probably already is. The assertion in the Microsoft manual has no basis.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hello Paul,

Thanks for commenting. I agree that simplifying sentence structures makes sense. In the items 1, 2, and 3 that I gave as examples, I believe the "who" clauses are necessary. At other times, like the example you noted, it's easy to streamline.

Microsoft and Garner essentially agree, and my check of Fowler indicates support for Microsoft's assertion too. I'm not sure what your final sentence is based on.


Bart Rosenberg

Good article here

from our know-it-all cousins across the pond.


Hello Lynn,
We need to use according to the style manual applied. If we aren't sure what style is being used, what to use?

Also, is there's some difference in their use in US and UK English?
If so, kindly clarify.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Bart,

Thanks for the article. My favorite quote was this one by Rebecca Gowers: “The more arbitrary their dislike of a given word, the more honour they are likely to invest in insisting that it is incorrect.”

I am always surprised at how strongly people react to words and punctuation they consider wrong.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi KR,

It helps to know which style a document should follow. But when you don't know, choose based on the most common style. As you can see from my information above, you can't go wrong using "who" for people.

I am not an expert on British English. But "Garner's Modern English Usage" frequently covers both British and American English in his discussions.



That quote in the comments made me laugh, because it sounds exactly like the reason I clicked on the article. Almost every post I see, even headline lately, uses “that” where I would use “who,” so I looked it up to prove they are all incorrect. Ha! Ha! Feeling sheepish now.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi C M G,

Don't hang your head too low. You couldn't prove that others were all wrong, but you can prove that some style manuals agree with you.


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