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  1. #1
    HSS is offline Junior Member
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    Default 'Which Is Everything' as an Insert

    Hi, I encountered this 'is' usage in a book. Could you change it to 'are,' and it still feels idiomatic?


    Gogol receives several dictionaries, several calculators, several Cross pen-and-pencil sets, several ugly sweaters. His parents give him an Instamatic camera, a new sketchbook, colored pencils and the mechanical pen he asked for, and twenty dollars to spend as he wishes. Sonia has made him a card with Magic Markers, on paper she's ripped out of one of his own sketchbooks, which says "Happy Birthday Goggles," the name she insists on calling him instead of Dada. His mother sets aside the things he doesn't like, which is most everything, to give to his cousins the next time they go to India. ('The Namesake' by Jhumpa Lahiri)

    The following is what I made up as a practice. Does the substitution of 'who' for 'which' make it sound odd? What about 'encompass' for 'encompasses'?


    He then shakes the hands of more than one hundred people invited to the party, which he thinks encompasses all he has to meet that day.

  2. #2
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: 'Which Is Everything' as an Insert

    Quote Originally Posted by HSS View Post
    Hi, I encountered this 'is' usage in a book. Could you change it to 'are,' and it still feels idiomatic?

    Gogol receives several dictionaries, several calculators, several Cross pen-and-pencil sets, several ugly sweaters. His parents give him an Instamatic camera, a new sketchbook, colored pencils and the mechanical pen he asked for, and twenty dollars to spend as he wishes. Sonia has made him a card with Magic Markers, on paper she's ripped out of one of his own sketchbooks, which says "Happy Birthday Goggles," the name she insists on calling him instead of Dada. His mother sets aside the things he doesn't like, which is most everything, to give to his cousins the next time they go to India. ('The Namesake' by Jhumpa Lahiri)

    The following is what I made up as a practice. Does the substitution of 'who' for 'which' make it sound odd? What about 'encompass' for 'encompasses'?

    He then shakes the hands of more than one hundred people invited to the party, which he thinks encompasses all he has to meet that day.
    ***NOT A TEACHER***I found your post very interesting. I'm sure a teacher will soon answer. Until then, may I make a few comments: (1) Was that book written by a native speaker of British or American English. I would think the "correct" version would be: She sets aside the thingS he doesn't like, which ARE most everything. (2) Maybe something like: He then shakes the hands of more than 100 people invited to the party, who he thinks include everybody he is expected to greet that day.

  3. #3
    HSS is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: 'Which Is Everything' as an Insert

    As far as I know, Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London of Bengali Indian parentage, and at the age of three, she and her family moved to Kingston, Rhode Island, where she grew up. Incidentally, her short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

  4. #4
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: 'Which Is Everything' as an Insert

    Quote Originally Posted by HSS View Post
    As far as I know, Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London of Bengali Indian parentage, and at the age of three, she and her family moved to Kingston, Rhode Island, where she grew up. Incidentally, her short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
    ***NOT A TEACHER***Thank you for your note. Hopefully, today a teacher will clarify the situation for both of us.

  5. #5
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    euncu is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: 'Which Is Everything' as an Insert

    Quote Originally Posted by HSS View Post
    which is most everything
    Like "everything", "most everything" is used with "is". I see no wrong with it.

  6. #6
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: 'Which Is Everything' as an Insert

    ***NOT A TEACHER*** Thank you for making me think more about my native (and only) language. I now agree with someone who gave you an answer on another website. The "which" is NOT a relative pronoun referring to things. "which is most everything" is parenthetical. A comment "thrown in" by the author. So: His mother sets aside the things that he doesn't like, which is (to say), most everything, to give to his cousins. Which is (to say)/ That is (to say) = IN OTHER WORDS. So we have: His mother sets aside the things that he doesn't like (in other words, most everything) to give to his cousins.

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