The Ghouls' Review Spring 2015 - Page 23

How to Escape from That Wicked Which Sue Archer Once upon a time, there was a golden-haired princess who lived in a tiny room at the top of a tall tower. She never needed to choose between which or that when she wrote sentences in her diary. This was because she didn’t have many choices at all. When she was a baby, she was stolen from her parents by a wicked witch, who locked her up in the tower. The witch had told her all about the scary place called Outside, and she hadn’t tried to leave while she was growing up. But now she was a teenager, and getting bored with solitude. She was also getting tired of writing the word which. ___ Dear Diary, Nothing ever changes around here. The witch has warned me not to leave this place, but I am so bored! The rocking chair, which is over by the fireplace, is still empty. I want to meet someone! I tried putting my old doll, which has red hair, in the chair to keep me company. But it’s just not the same. When will anything ever happen in this place? ___ The princess used the word which a lot in her diary because most of the things in the tower were unique. She didn’t have to single out a thing from all other things of the same type, so she used the word which to describe them. (Otherwise she would need to use that, which distinguishes between things.) She didn’t need to write “that doll with the red hair” because she only had one doll. She provided the information that the doll had red hair, but the reader wouldn’t need to know this to identify the doll. And she didn’t need to write “that rocking chair by the fireplace” because there was only one rocking chair, and it always sat by the fireplace. Anything described using which is considered “non-essential” information. It can be removed from the sentence without affecting its meaning. (This is why this information is generally placed between commas or parentheses.) The princess could just as easily have written the following: ___ Dear Diary, Nothing ever changes around here. The witch has warned me not to leave this place, but I am so bored! The rocking chair, which is over by the fireplace, is still empty. I want to meet someone! I tried putting my old doll, which has red hair, in the chair to keep me company. But it’s just not the same. When will anything ever happen in this place? ___ Spring 2015 23