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  1. #1
    Volcano1985's Avatar
    Volcano1985 is offline Senior Member
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    Default of which / of what

    Can you explain and show me the usage of 'of which / of what' ?

  2. #2
    abaka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: of which / of what

    Quote Originally Posted by Volcano1985 View Post
    Can you explain and show me the usage of 'of which / of what' ?
    "Which" is normal as the object of a preposition, and can be used to modify a noun. "What" marks a direct question, and is usually used by itself. Note that "of which" is often somewhat formal in tone (marked with * below when it's formal).

    A Our conference is postponed because of the strike.

    B Because of what?

    A The airline strike. As the e-mail from my boss says, "Until the strike, the timing * of which is very unfortunate, ends, teleconferencing is to be used whenever possible."

    Some more examples:

    The things * of which we rarely speak.
    What are the things * of which we rarely speak?
    I gave him an account of all our activities. Of what? Of which activities? Here "of which" is not formal. The first question is more general (activities? dreams? e-mails?), the second question wants details of the activities.
    Last edited by abaka; 18-Jan-2009 at 19:52.

  3. #3
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: of which / of what

    Which teacher do you want to believe.

  4. #4
    Volcano1985's Avatar
    Volcano1985 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: of which / of what

    Until the strike, the timing * of which is very unfortunate, ends,

    Until the strike whose timing is very unfortunate, ends,

    Right?

  5. #5
    Volcano1985's Avatar
    Volcano1985 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: of which / of what

    What's the difference?

    The things of which we rarely speak / The things which we rarely speak

  6. #6
    abaka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: of which / of what

    Quote Originally Posted by Volcano1985 View Post
    Until the strike, the timing * of which is very unfortunate, ends,

    Until the strike whose timing is very unfortunate, ends,

    Right?
    Yes, but informally. "Whose" properly belongs in the series who/whose/whom, and some people believe it must always refer to a person. You can say "whose timing" without any problem, but you should write "the timing of which".

    The things of which we rarely speak: more general subjects that we rarely bring up in conversation. Dangerous politics, perhaps.

    The things we rarely speak (better without which, and usually "say", not "speak"): more specific thoughts rarely spoken out loud. "You are a bastard son of a bitch", for example.
    Last edited by abaka; 18-Jan-2009 at 20:55.

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