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  1. #1
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Which does this refer to?

    The sentence:

    One part of American culture which has not changed since the postwar economic boom of the 1950s is consumerism

    About the relative pronoun above, which does it refer to; "one part" or "American culture"?

    Taka

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Which does this refer to?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    The sentence:

    One part of American culture which has not changed since the postwar economic boom of the 1950s is consumerism

    About the relative pronoun above, which does it refer to; "one part" or "American culture"?

    Taka

    Structurally, 'which' refers to "One part of American culture". Semantically, 'which' refers to "consumerism", which is one part of American culture.

    :D

  3. #3
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Which does this refer to?

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Structurally, 'which' refers to "One part of American culture".
    I would also come up with the same answer with yours, Casiopea. But if you were suppsed to analize the structure more in detail, which noun would you think "which" refers to; "one part" or "American culture"?

    Take another sentence for instance. In "People in Japan who work very hard...", "who" is used to describe "people in Japan". To be more presice, however, "people" is described by "who work very hard", and it is also descibed "in Japan".

    If you were supposed to apply the same way of analysis, what would be your answer for "One part of American culture which has not changed..."?

  4. #4
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Which does this refer to?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Structurally, 'which' refers to "One part of American culture".
    I would also come up with the same answer with yours, Casiopea. But if you were suppsed to analize the structure more in detail, which noun would you think "which" refers to; "one part" or "American culture"?

    Take another sentence for instance. In "People in Japan who work very hard...", "who" is used to describe "people in Japan". To be more presice, however, "people" is described by "who work very hard", and it is also descibed "in Japan".

    If you were supposed to apply the same way of analysis, what would be your answer for "One part of American culture which has not changed..."?
    I agree with Cas's answer also. The complete subject is "one part of American culture". However, the simple subject is "part". If one had to choose an antecedent for 'which", one would have to chosse "part". The "culture" as a whole has changed; it is this "part" that hasn't changed.

    One further point. The sentence is correct in British English. In American English, we normally use "that" in a restrictive relative clause that is not set off from the sentence in commas. We usually reserve "which" for a non-restrictive relative clause, which is set off from the sentence with a comma or commas.

  5. #5
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Which does this refer to?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    I agree with Cas's answer also. The complete subject is "one part of American culture". However, the simple subject is "part". If one had to choose an antecedent for 'which", one would have to chosse "part". The "culture" as a whole has changed; it is this "part" that hasn't changed.
    I see. Thanks, Mike!

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    One further point. The sentence is correct in British English. In American English, we normally use "that" in a restrictive relative clause that is not set off from the sentence in commas. We usually reserve "which" for a non-restrictive relative clause, which is set off from the sentence with a comma or commas.
    Hmm...interesting! I didn't know that.

    Thank you for the additonal information, Mike!!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Which does this refer to?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    I agree with Cas's answer also. The complete subject is "one part of American culture". However, the simple subject is "part". If one had to choose an antecedent for 'which", one would have to chosse "part". The "culture" as a whole has changed; it is this "part" that hasn't changed.
    I see. Thanks, Mike!

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    One further point. The sentence is correct in British English. In American English, we normally use "that" in a restrictive relative clause that is not set off from the sentence in commas. We usually reserve "which" for a non-restrictive relative clause, which is set off from the sentence with a comma or commas.

    Hmm...interesting! I didn't know that.

    Thank you for the additonal infomation, Mike!!
    You're very welcome.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Which does this refer to?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    One further point. The sentence is correct in British English. In American English, we normally use "that" in a restrictive relative clause that is not set off from the sentence in commas. We usually reserve "which" for a non-restrictive relative clause, which is set off from the sentence with a comma or commas.
    Hmm...interesting! I didn't know that.

    Thank you for the additonal information, Mike!!
    In British English either is ecceptable in a restrictive clause, but we tend to use 'which' in more formal contexts.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Which does this refer to?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    One further point. The sentence is correct in British English. In American English, we normally use "that" in a restrictive relative clause that is not set off from the sentence in commas. We usually reserve "which" for a non-restrictive relative clause, which is set off from the sentence with a comma or commas.
    Hmm...interesting! I didn't know that.

    Thank you for the additonal information, Mike!!
    In British English either is ecceptable in a restrictive clause, but we tend to use 'which' in more formal contexts.
    Canadian English, too. :D

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    Nice to see Canadians ignoring their neighbours' sub-standard English.

  10. #10
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Nice to see Canadians ignoring their neighbours' sub-standard English.
    LOL! We still have standards. :wink:

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