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RE: [PATCH] fix typos in ch07.xml

From: Greg Hudson <ghudson_at_MIT.EDU>
Date: 2004-01-13 18:30:40 CET

On Mon, 2004-01-12 at 12:09, Rusk, Patrick wrote:
> Finally, note the rule alluded to above that "which" phrases are set off by
> commas and "that" phrases aren't. So, the following is just wrong
> grammatically, though most people would probably understand its meaning.
>
> "The command which backs out changes to files is called "svn revert". This
> command, that should be used with caution, requires an explicit target."

I'd just like to note that this rule is not one of the
hardest-and-fastest rules of English grammar. As
http://telp.com/editing/styfaq3.htm#q35 notes, "'which' has a long
history of use in the restrictive sense." So, while many references
slavishly cite the hard distinction, supporting it with a vague appeal
to inspecific authority, others maintain that you can use "which" in a
restrictive clause. For example:

  http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jlawler/aue/xmasthat.html
  http://newark.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/t.html (sort of)
  http://newwave-red.diaryland.com/031128_64.html

On the other hand, even if it's not a well-established rule, it's still
a *useful* rule, in that it helps to distinguish restrictive from
non-restrictive clauses in spoken English. So I think many grammarians
tend to support it in spite of its shady historical basis, even if they
don't support more useless "rules" like the split-infinitive rule.

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Received on Tue Jan 13 18:31:22 2004

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