"who" instead of "which"?


Here is the explanation of the word “pack”: a pack is a group of animalslike dogs or wolves who live together

=> I just wonder why they use “who” instead of “which” here. Please shed some light on this.

Thank you very much.

“which” or “that” would be orthodox use but “who” is a possible curveball for living beings. (whose could well apply to nonliving beings)

Is it non-standard?

Well, hard for me to say. Depends on how you define standard. I bet you know people use he/she to refer to their pets, even to ships, earth, etc., in which case I think to use who shouldn’t be considered non-standard.


here’s a rule of thumb for you:

‘who’ - you refer to people
‘which’ - you refer to things and animals
‘that’ - can refer to both

But: if you refer to people, you should use ‘who’

People often attach human qualities to animals, so to say ‘animals who think they are people’ is possible. Often animals are referred to with ‘he’, so many people say thinks like ‘he’s a good horse’.

He’s a good horse who’s won many races.

I refer to my cat as “she” (because she is not definitely not a “he”.) :wink:

Yeah. Just like my uncle’s dog. She’s a bitch!

Poor thing. :frowning:
Isn’t it interesting that female cats are also referred to as “queens”? :lol:

My grandma and her queen queen it over the whole family, unfortunately. :slight_smile: Even my father doesn’t like it.

In Russian, we refer to almost any object (regardless of whether it is inanimate or animate) as she or he.
That is, a cup (of tea)/a tea spoon is “she”, or a computer/an extension cord is “he”
So, it is no wonder that Russian is very complicated. :roll:

French and others, even OE, are of the same, no big deal. e.g. Sumka (bag) is a ‘she’, so in Russian, if you want to say 'this is my bag, you should put a ‘she’ my: Eta maya sumka. right, LS? Nouns with an “-a” suffix have more chance to be feminine: Natasha, Babushika… but not always. My neck is stuck out. :slight_smile:

What drove me crazy about learning German was that nouns had three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter. But the genders never made any kind of sense to me. For example, a fork is feminine, a spoon is masculine, and a knife is neuter. Now I ask you – what kind of sense does that make?!? :lol:

Even worse, I learned French before I learned German, and the French and the Germans have had the audacity to allow words meaning the same thing to have different genders!!! 8)
Sorry for the off-topic chatter, Nessie.

  1. A group of animals like dogs or wolves who live together
  2. A group of animals like dogs or wolves which live together

For me, the “who” in #1 brings out the human qualities in the arrangement; I find I have to suppress a faint image of wolves chatting amiably and passing the basket of freshly baked rolls in a kind of lupine dining room.

#2 on the other hand suggests snowy tussles over the caribou.


O me too! But I can imagine English ‘she-words’: ship, country, earth… which motherlikely enwrap us…

If a fork were masculine, a spoon feminine, I would understand. But it seems the opposite…

Thanks a lot everybody :slight_smile:

Not at all, Amy :slight_smile: I like this off-topic chat-chit a lot :stuck_out_tongue:
By the way, Vietnamese is said to many to be so difficult and complicated, but I think at least there’s something easy about it: no gender for animals or things - just it, its, and its :lol: :lol: (of course, this is not an absolute “rule” ;))

Now that does not make sense, but I don’t even think about it when I speak Russian, it is just natural :slight_smile:

You got it almost right.
You can say these:

  1. Eto maya sumka[/b] (this is my bag)
  2. Eta sumka maya[/b] (this bag is mine)

(I don’t know the rule which governs this :slight_smile: )

But you’re right that nouns ending in “a” have a better chance to be “feminine”.

Spasiba, Alexander! :slight_smile:

Edited. Educational reply not forthcoming.

Molly, the initial question here has been adequately discussed. Please don’t distract learners by singling out quotes and putting them out of context. It’s both boring and misleading.

OK, Mod. I only wanted to know more about the use of relative pronouns, which as a student, is normal.