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# I have just attempted to compile a concept of an Exception

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I have just attempted to compile a concept of an Exception  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 29 Mar 2011, 01:38
4
3
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 modify

EXCEPTION 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]plates

Next, 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, who 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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Originally posted by Target760 on 28 Mar 2011, 23:02.
Last edited by Target760 on 29 Mar 2011, 01:38, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Exception to COMMA + WHICH RULE  [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2011, 00:45
"3) Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson, which were written . . . "

I think this is ok because of the plural verb "were"

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Re: Exception to COMMA + WHICH RULE  [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2011, 01:15
gmat1220 wrote:
"3) Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson, which were written . . . "

I think this is ok because of the plural verb "were"

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yes,'which' cannot refer to people (only 'who' can refer to people). thus, in this case ',which' reightly refers to next available choice i.e. 'letters' in the prepositional phares 'letters to susan . . '

correct?
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Re: Exception to COMMA + WHICH RULE  [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2011, 01:46
Target760 wrote:
gmat1220 wrote:
"3) Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson, which were written . . . "

I think this is ok because of the plural verb "were"

Posted from my mobile device

yes,'which' cannot refer to people (only 'who' can refer to people). thus, in this case ',which' rightly refers to next available choice i.e. 'letters' in the prepositional phrase 'letters to Susan . . '

correct?

Hi.

I have added one more para in above post title "importance of context" . . see if it makes sense?

Target760
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Re: Exception to COMMA + WHICH RULE  [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2011, 07:25
That looks perfect. Yes it's about common sense as well.

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Re: Exception to COMMA + WHICH RULE  [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2011, 07:42
Thank you! That was I was looking for.

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Re: I have just attempted to compile a concept of an Exception  [#permalink]

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07 Apr 2012, 10:55
Props for this list, the more things we can get covering these small details the better
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Re: I have just attempted to compile a concept of an Exception  [#permalink]

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04 Apr 2018, 03:00
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Re: I have just attempted to compile a concept of an Exception   [#permalink] 04 Apr 2018, 03:00
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