Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: which (2).

which (2). Today: Wrongly Applied to People. Unlike “that” — which can apply to either things or people — “which” applies only to things. If people are referred to, the nonrestrictive relative pronoun is “who” — e.g.: “Rights advocates and officials in Zaire protested the treatment of the illegal immigrants, some of which [read ‘whom’] were reportedly bound with tape.” Youssef M. Ibrahim, “A Wary France Cracks Down on Its Muslims,” N.Y. Times, 7 Sept. 1995, at A3. There is, of course, an exception for traditional wordings. For example, in Early Modern English, it was possible to cast the original version of the Lord’s Prayer with a personal “which” {Our Father, which art in Heaven}. Language-Change Index — “which” wrongly applied to people: Stage 1. Next: Beginning Sentences with “which.” For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Forenners and strangers do wonder at vs, both for the vncertaintie in our writing, and the inconstancie in our letters.” Richard Mulcaster, “The First Part of the Elementarie” (1582), (as quoted in Andrew MacLeish, “Do You Pronounce It As It’s Spelled?”, in Introductory Readings on Language 303, 306 (Wallace L. Anderson & Norman C. Stageberg eds., 3d ed. 1970)).
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