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RULES, STYLES, Personal Choice
And then there is what your readers will expect...
This post is about the relative pronouns that and who. Most of us were taught who is for a person and that is used for objects. Some will tell you it isn't a rule, however. Some would be correct.
Sometimes, you have to go with what your readers will expect. Grammar Rules: Writing with Military Precission by Craig Shrives says it best:
"Be aware that a fair proportion of your readers will not like you using that for people. It is good advice to avoid using that for people."
Sally is the one who called from the lottery office today.
Tom called all those that won movie tickets in the contest.
I like Sally/who—and with the overuse of the word that, this is a great way to remove some of them from your writing, too. =)
Now, if you write about ZOMBIES, then you might have a conundrum and will need to only be consistent in your writing. From Chicago Manual of Style's Online Q & A, I found this:
Q. When referring to a zombie, should I use the relative pronoun who (which would refer to a person) or that (since, technically, the zombie is no longer living)? Essentially, does a zombie cease to become a “person” in the grammatical sense?
A. Let’s assume this is a serious question, in which case you, as the writer, get to decide just how much humanity (if any) and grammatical sense you wish to invest in said zombie. That will guide your choice of who or that.
I've yet to edit a book about zombies, so I haven't had to give it much thought... so the decision is yours. ;)
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