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Stephen Diamond
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Lynn, I'm afraid your attempt to justify disregarding the Oxford advice is something of a fudge: if the distinction were real, you would have used it to dismiss Dickens, instead of pointing to an unsubstantiated change in English. Oxford routinely provides different advice for American and British writers when it applies. You asked for an authority. The linguists at the Language Log have pounded away against your position, terming the distinction the "totally fake which-that rule." (http://tinyurl.com/yjnhhc7) Pullum goes on to provide a more nuanced basis for distinguishing the two, a position which [note the usage] I develop, modify, and elaborate in "The Subtle Distinction between 'that' and 'which.'" (http://tinyurl.com/yfxwp45)
Toggle Commented Dec 8, 2010 on "That" or "Which"? at Business Writing
I've posted my more considered opinion on CYA letters here: http://tinyurl.com/29gyal2 "The Inherent Untruthfulness of CYA Letters" It contains a severe criticism of my position argued in this forum.
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2010 on The Propriety of CYA Letters at Legal Ethics Forum
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Feb 5, 2010