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Reply to "Which modifying a clause"

That sentence does not really work. Sentential relatives do not work when "which" functions as the object of a preposition. We can add a noun, such as "occasion," after the preposition, but that changes the structure.

When a prepositional phrase occurs as an adverbial modifier in a clause, even as part of a phrasal verb construction ("put up with something"), the complement (or object) of the preposition will be a noun phrase, not a clause.

Thus, the reader/hearer will understand (or try to understand) the antecedent of a "which" that functions, within its clause, as the object of a preposition as referring to a noun phrase, not to a clause.

But for a sentential relative clause to work as a sentential relative clause, the "which" must be understandable as referring to the propositional content of a clause which it is modifying. Try to use verbs that can be followed by "that":

  • The father punched the mother, which was too much for the child to bear.
    (= The father's punching the mother was too much for the child to bear.)
  • The father got into a physical altercation with the mother, which was too much for the child to bear.
    (= The father's getting into a physical altercation with the mother was too much for the child to bear.)

If I wanted to change the wording to express escalation, would this be acceptable as a sentential relative?

"The father began yelling at the mother,  which escalated into the father striking the mother."

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