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Pedants' corner

which vs who

4 replies

NetworkGuy · 09/08/2010 15:08

I came across this on today's afternoon play:

"The sax quartet version of Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away From Me" was arranged by Julie Hodge and performed by "Sax" who are Luiza Beddoes, Kate Mylnar, Janine Ng and Julie Hodge."

While I assume this is correct, the BBC journalists often use "who" where "which" should be used, and vice versa.

Had I been writing the note for the afternoon play, I might have adopted the following approach:

"... arranged by Julie Hodge and performed by "Sax" : Luiza Beddoes, Kate Mylnar, Janine Ng and Julie Hodge."

(yes, a coward, perhaps, but I find it easier not to use "who" for the group, just as I would not use "who" for a union, or business, despite the performers / members / staff being people.


OP posts:
DuelingFanjo · 09/08/2010 15:12

would it be 'who are' or 'which is' rather than 'which are'?

NetworkGuy · 09/08/2010 15:21

Maybe I'm just too fussy, but neither "who are" nor "which is" seem suitable without some "noise words" to better describe the people as players / members.

Maybe something like "whose members are" would fit better - though I appreciate it acknowledges a 'human' aspect of the group Sax where I've initially indicated I would be unhappy to use "who" in the same place.

"which are" just seems altogether wrong because the group Sax would be singular, though I'm trying hard to think of a suitable sentence to prove it!

OP posts:
NetworkGuy · 09/08/2010 15:22

Right - going out shopping to clear my head, and maybe think of anything but this subject.

OP posts:
VictorianIce · 11/08/2010 21:55

"...the members of which are..."?

It's still bit clumsy :(

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