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    #1

    of which / whose

    1. In the meeting, we discussed three topics, of which details are shown below.
    2. In the meeting, we discussed three topics, whose details are shown below.

    A long time ago in school, I learned that “whose” can’t be used for an inanimate subject. However, I learned later that native English speakers actually use it for an inanimate subject.
    Are the above two sentences both correct?

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: of which / whose

    The first should be: In the meeting, we discussed three topics, the details of which are shown below.

    The second is also correct.

    This is the usage note from American Heritage Dictionary:

    Usage Note: It has sometimes been claimed that whose is properly used only as the possessive form of who and thus should be restricted to animate antecedents,
    as in a man whose power has greatly eroded. But there is extensive literary precedent for the use of whose with inanimate antecedents, as in The play, whose style
    is rigidly formal, is typical of the period.
    In an earlier survey this example was acceptable to a large majority of the Usage Panel. Those who avoid this usage employ
    of which: The play, the style of which isrigidly formal, is typical of the period. But as this example demonstrates, substituting of which may producea stilted sentence
    . See Usage Notes at else, which, who.
    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.



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    #3

    Re: of which / whose

    Thank you.

    I found a (Japanese) book that says it's better to avoid using "whose" or "of which" with inanimate antecedents, and we should use "with" instead.

    For example, "Hand me the book with the frayed cover." instead of "Hand me the book whose cover [the cover of which] is frayed."

    How can I paraphrase my sentence using "with"?

    In the meeting, we discussed three topics with...?

  2. riquecohen's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: of which / whose

    Your original sentence cannot be paraphrased using "with."

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: of which / whose

    Quote Originally Posted by herbivorie View Post
    1. In the meeting, we discussed three topics, the details of which are shown below.
    2. In the meeting, we discussed three topics, whose details are shown below.

    A long time ago in school, I learned that “whose” can’t be used for an inanimate subject. However, I learned later that native English speakers actually use it for an inanimate subject.

    The rule is usually true. But sometimes there's no better word than whose. The sentence could be broken up this way: In the meeting, we discussed three topics. The details are shown below.

    But that doesn't flow as well. So you're right that whose not consistent with usual grammar rules, but in this case, it serves a purpose and is fine to use.
    Good question!
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 04-Aug-2014 at 17:27. Reason: Removed self-made emoticon

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