The average adult, who or which

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EdisonBhola

Senior Member
Korean
Hi all, the following sentences are taken from an IELTS course offered by University of Queensland in Australia:

The average adult, which can weigh up to 5000 kilograms, has a lifespan of 60 to 70 years.

Females, which reach sexual maturity between 9 and 12 years of age, can produce young until around 50 years of age.


In either of the sentences, shouldn't the relative pronoun be "who" instead of "which" as we're talking about human beings. What is your opinion? :)
 
  • niki milles

    Member
    English - America
    The context and tone of this situation speaks about humans from a less personal, more scientific aspect of human beings. This speaks about humans in a tone that makes them less human, but more "animal," where the science of them is what matters.

    Those are just my thoughts, there may be a clearer grammatical rule that I am unaware of. :) Hope that helps!
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thanks Niki. Would "which" be a natural choice for native English speakers in such a context? Or would you say "who" is equally fine or maybe even better?
     

    niki milles

    Member
    English - America
    In a conversation, I would probably not phrase it like that anyways. That is a pretty sophisticated sentence. In person I would probably say:

    "The average adult can weigh up to 5000 kilograms and has a lifespan of 60 to 70 years."

    "Females reach sexual maturity between 9 and 12 years of age and can produce young until around 50 years of age."

    If I was writing a report, then I also would use which. Who would be fine also, but, personally, in writing, I would use which.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    What makes you think the passage concerns humans, Edison?

    This is the only land-based critter that seems to fit the 5,000 kg description.

     
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