A friend and I got into a dispute over a particular word usage in something we're writing. He feels he's right. I feel I'm right, but I can't find a reference in the Good Writing and Grammar book that I use. I've googled with every combination of words and can't find an online reference, either. If you can find a link to show which usage is correct, I would appreciate it.
The sentence refers to a dry cleaner named Jack. The word controversy is in bold.
And she had no intentions of losing the only dry cleaner that/who seemed to know what he was doing
I say 'who'. He says 'that' is correct. I say 'who' because the modifying phrase refers to a man/person. He says 'that' because it sounds correct to his ear (a method I often use, myself).
I need either a link (preferably) or an explicit explanation. I'm a real stickler on grammar and, at this point, want to know out of curiosity if I'm wrong.
NOTE***I wrote a childhood friend who teaches Creative Writing at the U. of Colorado and has his Ph.D. in English. I figured he would know, if anybody did:-) I just got this reply.
This is the kind of answer I LOVE to give: both of you are right.
Check out the following link:
In general, "who" is preferable when referring to a person or to people; but "that" is also considered correct. Personally, I would use "who" in the sentence that you quoted: not only is it more personable and human: it also works better with the sound of the rest of the sentence: the "oooo" sounds in "losing," "to,"and "doing," plus the aspirants at the beginning of "had," "what" and "he."
I did a google of "that / who"--typed just that way--and it turned up several links. I cited the second one above. If you want to go deeper, just google "that / who."