Trying to have it both ways?;-)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Mar 25 20:57:56 UTC 2012

"… killed the _ba[b]y_ that ha[d] lost _his/her_ mother, because _it_
was suffering."

My impression is that, for some speakers, _that_ can be used as the
complementizer/relativizer/subordinating conjunction/ relative
pronoun/whatever just in case that the antecedent be (considered)
Neuter, Inanimate, etc. Otherwise, _who_ is required. E.g.

The man who - but not _*that_ - japed
The fellow who - but not _*that_ - married the Maxill girl

Either way works for me, so I don't assert that the writer's use of
_that_ is evidence, in and of itself, that he considers _baby_ to be
grammatically Neuter.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society -

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