Symmetrical Feet wrote:This seems to have sneaked into the media and propagated like some sort of horrible worm, the use of "that" as a relative pronoun for people, as in "Were there any men that were wearing watches at the party?" It's like saying, "Before George left, it remembered to grab its keys", with "it" referring to George. English has a pronoun for people, and it is "who"/"whom". It should be used instead of the impolite "that". There were many men who wore watches to the party.
I think you mixed up "which" and "that". These are the four rules I learned in English class:
person, necessary relative clause: who[m] or that
person, non-necessary relative clause: who[m]
thing, necessary relative clause: which or that
thing, non-necessary relative clause: which
As English seems to be your mother tongue you probably didn't learn rules for which pronoun to use one way or the other (or maybe just regarding when to use "who" and when to use "whom"). So you go by what feels "strange", as everybody does for one's own language. Because in English it is possible to leave out the relative pronoun in necessary relative clauses (Is there any other language with such a strange thing?) and this is not only allowed, but even preferable, you don't get to hear or read sentences in which "that" is used as relative pronoun very often, so they don't feel familiar. And for persons it seems to be used even less frequently than for things.