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    #1

    Arrow That or which?

    In the name of the Merciful Allah,
    Hi, is which in the following quote inside the brackets grammatically right? " The common theme in these ideologies is that Islamic states were no longer purely Islamic and
    Muslim are living in “Jahiliaya” (the age of ignorance which prevailed in the Arabian peninsula before the revelation of Islam to the prophet Mohammed) (Ibrahim, 1980)."
    I ask this because what I know is that that should be used - and nothing else- to introduce a restrictive( or defining) relative clause,
    which identifies the person or thing being talked about; in this use it should never be preceded by a comma. By contrast, whichis used only with nonrestrictive (or nondefining) clauses, which give additional information about something that has already been identified in the context. Am I right?
    By the way,
    Muslim should be in plural, right? Thanks alot ahead.

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    #2

    Re: That or which?

    Hi Egyption Arrow

    In the name of the Merciful Allah, you are correct.
    The common theme in these ideologies is that Islamic states were no longer purely Islamic and Muslims are living in“Jahiliaya”(the age of ignorance which prevailed in the Arabian peninsula before the revelation of Islam to the prophet Mohammed) (Ibrahim, 1980)."


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    #3

    Re: That or which?

    Look at it in this form:
    The common theme in these ideologies is that Islamic states were no longer purely Islamic , and Muslims are
    living in “Jahiliaya”. This refers to "the Age of Ignorance", which prevailed in the Arabian peninsula before the revelation of Islam to the prophet Mohammed) (Ibrahim, 1980)."

    It adds further information, so use 'which'.

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    #4

    Re: That or which?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Look at it in this form:
    The common theme in these ideologies is that Islamic states were no longer purely Islamic , and Muslims are
    living in “Jahiliaya”. This refers to "the Age of Ignorance", which prevailed in the Arabian peninsula before the revelation of Islam to the prophet Mohammed) (Ibrahim, 1980)."

    It adds further information, so use 'which'.
    Can't say as if I agree with the added commas--not that they don't fit the syntax. They do, but they also alter the author's intended meaning.

    [1] Commas serve to separate thoughts. Did the author intend that?

    [2] which can be--and often is used--without a comma.

    Editing can be a tricky thing.



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    #5

    Re: That or which?

    [1] Commas serve to separate thoughts. Did the author intend that?

    The point is, for Arrows information, they need to be!!!

    [2] which can be--and often is used--without a comma.
    Yes - incorrectly!!!

    Do a search on this forum - 'that' versus' which'. This matter has been covered about 3-4 times in the last six months. I don't want to dredge over it again!

    The sentence is very poorly constructed. The author states 'the common theme" = one uniting theme, then proceeds to give two assertions, Islamic states are no longer Islamic, COMMA, and Muslims are living in “Jahiliaya”
    Last edited by David L.; 28-Apr-2008 at 17:34.

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    #6

    Lightbulb Re: That or which?

    Hi David, if you're right, why didn't he use a comma before which? Besides, I can tell you for certain- since I'm arab- that Jahiliaya refers to the pronunciation of an arabic word that means the mentioned age in my quote, or the quality or condition of Jahl (or ignorance)-especially that relates to the beliefs and practices during this age, as commonly used. So, it is not any age of ignorance, but a prticular one . Thus, the whole parenthesis is a difinition of this arabic word, written in English.

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    #7

    Re: That or which?

    Hi David L.

    No need to get upset. This is a friendly forum. As you know, there always is and always will be more than one interpretation of a given utterance. The hope is that we are able to recognise that as we pass on what we know to those who would like to be able to use English in the same way that its native speakers use it. After all, knowledge is power, so empower your readers, David. They will learn a great deal from you if you explain rather than complain. The latter serves only one purpose. To confuse.

    Discuss, don't fuss.


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    #8

    Re: That or which?

    Hi Egyption Arrow

    I agree with you, which isn't to say that I disagree with David. On the contrary, the two interpretations are grammatical; however, we need to consider the author's ideas first, and the common theme he speaks of is unified: X and Y, not disparate: X, and Y. The punctuation changes the author's intended meaning in my expert opinion.

    As for the restrictive use of which it's grammatical in the context you provided, not to mention acceptable and used by many a famous writer, present and past.

    Hold true to your instincts.


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    #9

    Re: That or which?

    In additon, here is just a taste of what you can find online about the use of restrictive which (it's from Jack Lynch's Guide to Grammar and Style):

    According to the more quibbling self-styled grammar experts, that is restrictive, while which is not.

    Many grammarians insist on a distinction without any historical justification. Many of the best writers in the language couldn't tell you the difference between them, while many of the worst think they know. If the subtle difference between the two confuses you, use whatever sounds right.

    Lynch, Guide to Grammar and Style — T



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    #10

    Re: That or which?

    Besides, I can tell you for certain- since I'm arab- that Jahiliaya refers to the pronunciation of an arabic word that means the mentioned age in my quote, or the quality or condition of Jahl (or ignorance)-especially that relates to the beliefs and practices during this age, as commonly used. So, it is not any age of ignorance, but a prticular one

    Precisely why I used 'the' as the definite article, not 'a'!

    I don't get upset. I become emphatic!

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