I have just attempted to compile a concept of an Exception to a rule; hope it benefits all
thanks to numerous posters, whose creative queries pushed Ron & Stacy @ Manhattan to give clarity on the 'exception' to the rule of "',which"
To sum it all up!! First, the basic concept . .
• Noun Modifiers modify WHO DID IT!
• Noun modifiers are often introduced by relative pronouns.
• Relative Pronouns such as which, that, who, whom, whose, where, when --> turn 'clauses' they attach to into relative / subordinate clauses
• Noun modifiers, notably, which + comma
AND that without comma
by definition, have to touch the noun
they modifyEXCEPTION TO COMMA + WHICH RULE
The best approach here is to think of "which" as a special modifier that attaches even more strongly to the noun than other modifiers. As a result, unlike most modifiers, "which” isn’t as easy to separate from its noun by an intervening modifier? In ALMOST ALL cases, you are safe to eliminate any answer where the "which" doesn't refer to the word immediately preceding it regardless of whatever else is going on. Exception. . .
when nouns that are modified by prepositional phrases (Preposition = of, above) ---> If, in “X preposition Y” construction ,”Y” can GRAMMATICALLY be the referent of “, which” then pick Y, else pick “X” (noun) or “X preposition Y” (noun phrase)Examples . . .
1) The picture
of my brothers, which
was taken last year in Mexico, is one of my favorites
- Which cannot refer to brother, because brother needs “who”, so which can only refer to Picture in this case.
2) The picture
above my fireplace, which
was taken last year in Mexico , is my favorite
- Fireplace could not have been taken
3) Emily Dickinson’s letters
to Susan Huntington Dickinson, which
were written . . . Pictorially speaking. . . See attached image. . . Summary. . .
- DO NOT extend this pattern to prepositional phrases in which the object-of-preposition COULD ACTUALLY BE the antecedent of "which” i.e. in “X preposition Y”, Y could be antecedent of “which”
- Also, comma + which refers "noun immediately preceding it"
OR at best can refer to “noun that prepositional phrase modifies” OR “noun phrase as a whole - represented by X preposition Y”
. But it can never
refer back to "whole clause" . . .Importance of context . . .
- If the pronoun that you have can refer to the preceding noun
and also to the noun that the prepositional phrase modifies
, then you have to select depending on the context
“Corrections in the second, third, and fourth printings, however, were made only to the original set of plates, which was
used for reprinting through 1941 and then melted down”
Solution: In the above worthy nouns are ‘plates
’ (immediately preceding “, which”) and ‘set
’. As we have ‘was’ in un-underlined portion ‘,which’ would refer to set /b] and not [b]platesNext, the rule generalized . .
The whole of above discussion, (i think so) can be extend to other relative pronouns clauses / noun modifiers too. . such as "who"
Example: "Stella Adler was one of the most influential artists
in the American theater
trained several . . "
Now, in the above sentence; 'who', a relative pronoun, after comma - as a general rule - should modify noun preceding it. but because the noun theater
is a prepositional phrase
and because who can only modify people
and in this case who modifies artists
. . . . this logic is similar to what we just applied in above examples; ", which" cannot refer to brothers (as which modifies 'things') and so on. .
(pls note: the above example is from OG, and in that problem the "who" was a wrong choice as we needed to modify "Stella Adler" and as we rightly see above 'who was modifying 'artists')Target760
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