[QW2] Never (!) refer to people as ‘that’

by | Jun 17, 2020

Welcome back to Quick Wins for those pesky ‘word puzzlers’ in our lives.

This month’s offering is one of my biggies:

[QW2] Never (!) refer to people as ‘that’

If you’ve ever asked me to edit for you, you are probably aware I’m a ‘That’ Nazi. This is what some of my clients call me!

When you have almost 1,000 occurrences of ‘that’ in your 100-page book, most of ’em are goin’ down! (Yeees, this happened on a project.)

Although I remove most occurrences of ‘that,’ some just need a word change. For example:

He wanted to ensure people that bought his
Thingamabob Switch were happy with it.

Since we never refer to people as ‘that,’ what do we say?

Refer to people as ‘who’ (or ‘whom,’ in some cases):

He wanted to ensure people who bought his
Thingamabob Switch were happy with it.

Other examples:

People who wanted to get to the beach quickly took the detour.
The only attendees who got into the arena were those with pre-order tickets.

There you go, Quick Win 2!


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Feel free to leave a comment, especially if you need help with a ‘puzzler’ word or phrase.
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See you next time,

Kathie

Click here to see the introductory post for this series.

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Kathie York, CSQE
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