1. For the choice between that and which, see that 3. It is especially important that which, not that, should be used in so-called non-restrictive clauses giving additional rather than essential information: A new edition of the book, which has taken ten years to write, will be published this week. (Note that in this role, which is usually preceded by a comma.)
2. The use of which to introduce a clause that is grammatically a relative one but in fact adds new information or leads on to a new point has been recorded for several centuries but has become especially common in the last fifty years or so:

• He does Mr Rabinowitz's teeth which is super —Nigel Williams, 1985

• Head office may look at the figures and decide to close again, which defeats the whole point —tourist website, BrE 2003 [OEC]

• (starting a new sentence) It was as though Hungary was not another place but another time, and therefore inaccessible. Which of course was not so —Penelope Lively, 1987.

3. Use of which with a personal antecedent is now archaic only, and is familiar mainly from the Prayer Book:

• O God, which art author of peace, and lover of concord —Book of Common Prayer, 1548–9 (modern spelling).

4. When a which-clause is followed by another which-clause joined by and or but, the second which must have the same grammatical status as the first. In the following example the first which is the subject of its clause, whereas the second is the object of the verb (found): In contrast Peake's use of elevated language has a childlike quality, which is appropriate given that the protagonist, Titus, is a boy, and which I found endearing.

Modern English usage. 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Which — Which, pron. [OE. which, whilk, AS. hwilc, hwylc, hwelc, from the root of hw[=a] who + l[=i]c body; hence properly, of what sort or kind; akin to OS. hwilik which, OFries. hwelik, D. welk, G. welch, OHG. wel[=i]h, hwel[=i]h, Icel. hv[=i]l[=i]kr,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Which — which  Unix утилита, отображающая полный путь к указанным командам или сценариям. Содержание 1 Описание 2 Опции 3 Пример использования …   Википедия

  • which — which  Unix утилита, отображающая полный путь к указанным командам или сценариям. Содержание 1 Описание 2 Опции 3 Пример использования …   Википедия

  • which — [ wıtʃ, hwıtʃ ] function word *** Which can be used in the following ways: as a determiner (followed by a noun): Which color do you like best? as a pronoun (without a following noun): Choose any card it doesn t matter which. (introducing a… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Which — Voir « which » sur le Wiktionnaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • which — W1S1 [wıtʃ] determiner, pron [: Old English; Origin: hwilc] 1.) used to ask or talk about one or more members of a group of people or things, when you are uncertain about it or about them ▪ Which book are you looking for? ▪ Which are the most… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • which — [hwich, wich] pron. [ME whiche < OE hwylc, hwelc, for * hwa lic, lit., who like (akin to Goth hwileiks, OHG hwelīh, Ger welch): see WHO & LY1] 1. what one (or ones) of the number of persons, things, or events mentioned or implied? [which of… …   English World dictionary

  • Which — is an English relative pronoun and interrogative pronoun.Which may also refer to: *Which?, a UK charity and its magazine *which (Unix), a Unix command See also * English relative clauses, for discussion of when to use which and when to use that… …   Wikipedia

  • which — O.E. hwilc (W.Saxon) which, short for hwi lic of what form, from P.Gmc. *khwilikaz (Cf. O.S. hwilik, O.N. hvelikr, Swed. vilken, O.Fris. hwelik, M.Du. wilk, Du. welk, O.H.G. hwelich, Ger. welch, Goth. hvileiks …   Etymology dictionary

  • which — which; which·ev·er; which·so·ev·er; …   English syllables

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