Which does this refer to?

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Taka

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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
 

Casiopea

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Taka said:
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
 

Taka

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Casiopea said:
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..."?
 

MikeNewYork

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Taka said:
Casiopea said:
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.
 

Taka

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MikeNewYork said:
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!

MikeNewYork said:
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!!
 

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Taka said:
MikeNewYork said:
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!

MikeNewYork said:
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.
 

Tdol

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Taka said:
MikeNewYork said:
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.;-)
 

Casiopea

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tdol said:
Taka said:
MikeNewYork said:
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
 

Tdol

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Nice to see Canadians ignoring their neighbours' sub-standard English. :lol: ;-)
 

MikeNewYork

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tdol said:
Nice to see Canadians ignoring their neighbours' sub-standard English. :lol: ;-)

LOL! We still have standards. :wink:
 
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