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My dilemma is that these sentences are spoken words that I transcribe but I can't make sense out of the clauses and phrases that are modified. I'm restricted to finding the correct punctuation for the text that is taken from spoken words. Do you have any suggestions? In the sentence below, "which they hope often is forever" is a relative clause but where is the noun phrase or clause that it modifies. I understand that ordinarily, a comma would come after "can." Thanks!!

One of the extraordinary parts about this episode is that usually whistleblowers do what they do anonymously and take steps to remain anonymous for as long as they can which they hope often is forever.

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Hi, Clueless,

@clueless posted:

One of the extraordinary parts about this episode is that usually whistleblowers do what they do anonymously and take steps to remain anonymous for as long as they can which they hope often is forever.

I interpret the "which"-clause above to have as its antecedent the adverbial "for as long as they can" (which can in turn be understood as equivalent to the less idiomatic noun phrase "for the longest possible time").

Being a non-restrictive comment, it needs to be preceded by a comma. I would also enclose "often" between commas, because it would otherwise normally appear before the verb "hope":

- One of the extraordinary parts about this episode is that usually whistleblowers do what they do anonymously and take steps to remain anonymous for as long as they can, which they hope, often, is forever.

We can understand the sentence above to derive from:

Whistleblowers take steps to remain anonymous for as long as they can + Whistleblowers hope to remain anonymous forever (They hope that the time they will remain anonymous never ends.)

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator

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