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Reply to "Which modifying a clause"

Hi, Jacob,

@Jacob B. posted:

I've read in most places that "which" can not modify a clause.

Actually, we do have sentential "which," in which case "which" has the main clause as antecedent:

- The father got into a physical altercation with the mother, which the child could not put with. (The child could not put up with the father getting into a physical altercation with the mother.)

The use of sentential relative clauses is grammatically correct and quite extended.

@Jacob B. posted:

Option 1 ("which" modifying preceding clause):  "The father got into a physical altercation with the mother, which the child was present for."

Option 2 (appositive phrase): "The father got into a physical altercation, with the mother, which the child was present for."

Option 3 (relative clause): "The father got into a physical altercation, which the child was present for, with the mother."

Option 4 (changing the wording): "The father got into a physical altercation with the mother, and the child was present for the altercation."

Option 5 (leaving the original wording without adding a comma):  "The father got into a physical altercation with the mother which the child was present for."

I wonder if the preposition "for" really works there (any thoughts, David?). I think that, unless there is a close relationship between the verb, or the verb phrase (be present, in this case), and the preposition or adverbial particle that follows (as is the case with prepositional and phrasal verbs, as in my example further above), a noun will be required to sum up the situation described by the clause, for example:

- The father got into a physical altercation with the mother, on which occasion the child was present.

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator
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