Q. I’m having trouble with “who” vs. “that.” I understand that, in general, “who” is used with persons, while “that” is used for groups. However, consider the following sentence: “In this way, the novel satisfies the demand of many social scientists who/that demand a more reflexive and critical examination of an author’s political and social context.” Are these many social scientists a group requiring “that,” or people requiring “who”? Thanks!
A. Although there are humanists who argue to the contrary, we regard social scientists as people and use “who.” “Who,” like “that,” may refer to groups of people: The same jury who convicted the embezzler acquitted his alleged accomplice.