Before You Submit: Who or That

Do you have a draft of your novel or short story and are thinking of submitting to an agent, publisher or writing contest? My series called Before You Submit might help. This series contains hints and tips I’ve received from professionals in the publishing industry. Each week I’ll share a new tip.

This week I’ll write about the use of who.

I’m loving going through my old notes from an editor. I mean, if can’t laugh at myself and the silly mistakes I made in the early days of writing, what’s the point. Writing should be fun, at least some of the time, maybe even most of the time. Even the hard work of editing can be fun.

Now, to the topic of Who or That, and what I needed to know. Here’s the sentence I wrote:

“I’ll need a list of everyone that had the combination to the safe.”

Yikes. Did you catch the error? The sentence should read:

“I’ll need a list of everyone who had the combination to the safe.”

Funny enough, who is used when referring to people. Every little correction makes the novel a better read. Thank you to the editor who pointed this out to me.

I hope this helps improve your writing.

See Before You Submit:Likeable Characters for the first blog in this series and an introduction the benefits of submitting even if you get a rejection letter.

Thanks for reading…


4 thoughts on “Before You Submit: Who or That

  1. I do like the ‘Who” in that spot better then the” that” but would it not be acceptable to use slang or incorrect English if it’s part of the story’s genre or character’s personality? My human says my English is very
    child like. It helps define me as a dog


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