Latin to the rescue again

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"For 250 years, grammarians have accused the best writers of violating these rules, and for 250 years those writers have ignored them" (Williams 9).

At first, I cheer for the writers and think the grammarians are jerks. However, I can see that the grammarians don't mean any harm, in fact, they're just trying to help. Perhaps they get a bad rap in this book.

The "that" and "which" rule really confuses me. Sometimes I think I know which to use, but other times I have no idea and flip back and forth while writing. Usually (in that case) I'll just rewrite the whole sentence to aviod the problem.

I remember last year I was editing a poem with a group and the student had used "that" making the line a little clumsy and the error stood out. The way to fix it would have been to change it to "in which" but that didn't fit with the style/voice of the narrator.

We were stuck. This is one of those examples of a stylistic reason for breaking the rule.

These breaking the rules are good for creative writing, but is it for journalism? The Folklore yes, but the Elegant or the Hobgoblins? We are writing for the common man in newspapers so I write by asking which he would prefer? Which would he see as right? Which would not stick out to him?

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