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A mnemonic

Posted by R. Berg on May 11, 2001

In Reply to: My conclusion -- and thanks! posted by Massimo Mazzucco on May 11, 2001

: Since I don't see any major contradiction between R. Berg's rules' exposition and yours (thanks to both), I would tend to consider the basic reasoning (on the restrictive/non-restrictive aspect) as a "rule" proper, and your [ESC] comma/non-comma hint more as a second-guessing, tremendously useful "red-flagging" device.

: Just a secondary, personal curiosity here. Are you guys (the "aficionados" I mean -- R. Berg, ESC, Bruce Kahl, etc.) mostly from the Uk, or the US? (None of you obviously needs to answer this one).

: Thanks to all again - this site has been one of my best "discoveries" on the web ever!

: Massimo Mazzucco

I'm in the United States.

I've now generated something that might help by showing the direction in which a change is usually needed:

If you would see your work in print,
At every "which" you then must squint.
On royalties you will grow fat
By changing many a "which" to "that."

Indeed, it is no pretty picture
To read the writing of a whicher,
And still it is no easy matter
To change the whicher to a thatter.

Rules there are, and in abundance,
Till they reek of their redundance,
And yet we need a simple guide,
One that we can keep inside.

Some experts urge, "Look for the comma,"
But that may complicate the drama.
It's not much help, if you don't know
Just where the comma ought to go.

Now, when you sit down to compose,
Whether it be verse or prose,
Essay, sonnet, sales pitch,
Remember: "That" instead of "which."

You write the news? the weather? sports?
The press release? the crime reports?
A humble cookbook for the kitchen?
Just get to work, and stop your whichin'.