The Sofa Reader

Social Links


Describe your must-have qualities in a partner using ‘who’ or ‘that’

who vs that to describe your partner

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re single or in a relationship, this day provides an opportunity to reflect on the qualities you desire in a partner. Are you currently looking for someone special? Or do you already have a significant other, but want to refine your list of desired qualities?

When it comes to describing our ideal partner, we often use relative clauses with pronouns like ‘who’ or ‘that’. For instance, you might say, “I like guys who can cook,” or “I like girls that I can go fishing with.” But have you ever wondered when to use ‘who’ versus ‘that’ in these phrases? And can you omit the relative pronoun altogether?

To determine whether you can omit the pronoun or not, you need to identify the person being referred to in the second part of the sentence. If the subjects in both parts are different, the relative pronoun cannot be omitted, like in “I like guys who have a good sense of humor.”

On the other hand, if the subjects are the same, the relative pronoun can be left out, like in “I like guys I can talk to easily.” You can also break the sentence down into two simple sentences to check if the subject is the same or not.

For example, “I like guys. They have a good sense of humor” shows that the subjects are different, and the relative pronoun cannot be omitted. However, “I like guys. I can talk to them easily” indicates that the subjects are the same, and the relative pronoun can be left out.

When it comes to using ‘that’ instead of ‘who’, the decision often comes down to personal preference or style. Generally, ‘that’ is used to refer to things or animals, while ‘who’ is used for people. However, in some cases, ‘that’ can be used to describe a person, especially in informal language. For example, “I like guys that I can talk to easily.” In this case, ‘that’ is referring to a person, and it can be omitted to say, “I like guys I can talk to easily.”

Over to you:

  1. Can you try and describe the qualities you would like your partner to have?
  2. What about a co-worker, boss, teacher, service provider, neighbor, etc?

One response to “Describe your must-have qualities in a partner using ‘who’ or ‘that’”

Leave a Reply