‘That’ vs. ‘Who’

Sam: A small error I see frequently is “that” instead of “who,” such as “we need a president that shows empathy.”

I wouldn’t call that an error. Here is what the Merriam-Webster says about it:

In current usage that refers to persons or things, which chiefly to things and rarely to subhuman entities, who chiefly to persons and sometimes to animals. The notion that that should not be used to refer to persons is without foundation; such use is entirely standard.

‘That’ vs. ‘Which’

Tana: Using “which” when it should be “that,” like “a mindset which contributes to more incarceration” versus “a mindset that contributes to more incarceration.”

I’m afraid that’s not a grammar mistake either. The Merriam-Webster again:

In today’s usage which and that are both used to introduce restrictive clauses, those which cannot be removed from the context of the sentence, and which is also used to introduce nonrestrictive clauses, those which provide additional information but can be removed without the sentence falling apart. These rules are actually older than the words themselves, which were frequently interchangeable until the 18th century.

If anyone questions your decision [to use which in a restrictive clause], you can say that you […] are making a decision based on custom, euphony, and convenience.


I agree with Iris’s take.

I’d just like to note that using impact as a verb is not per se wrong. From the Merriam-Webster:

You may occasionally run into claims that impact is not a verb, or that it is somehow ill-suited to a role in this part of speech. Not only is that not the case, but the verb form of impact is much older than the noun form.

Interested in natural selection, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, science in general, human nature, consciousness, philosophy and ethics.

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