Brad Feld

Back to Blog

Who is That?

Jan 27, 2008

I have a handful of chronic grammar problems.  I received the following email yesterday:

You seem like an intelligent guy.  But you insist on referring to your friends as, "that."  If you’re not just trying to fit in by using bad grammar (as everyone else seems to do), show everyone how smart you really are.

"To all my friends that are . . . ."
"Since they are the ones that . . . ." 
"(Name) that is . . . ."

How about using the word, "who" instead of "that" when you refer to people?  "My friend who will be . . . ."  "To all my friends who are . . . ."  "Since they are the ones who . . . ."

To which I responded:

I have 12 grammar problems.  Then / than, who / whom, accept / except, …., and that / who!  Thanks for calling me out on it – I’ll try harder but given that I’m 42 and can’t seem to get my brain wired for these few things, I’m probably screwed for life.

Thanks oh vigilant grammarians for keeping me on my toes.