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Friday, August 06, 2010

Relative Clauses (4)

Prepositions in relative clauses





Part A

In formal styles we often put a preposition before the relative pronouns which and whom:
• The rate at which a material heats up depends on its chemical composition.
• In the novel by Meyer, on which the film is based, the main character is a teenager.
• An actor with whom Gump had previously worked contacted him about the role.
• Her many friends, among whom I like to be considered, gave her encouragement.

Notice that after a preposition you can’t use who instead of whom, and you can’t use that or zero relative pronoun:
• Is it right that politicians should make important decisions without consulting the public to whom they are accountable?
(NOT) Is it right that politicians should make important decisions without consulting the public who they are accountable?
• The valley in which the town lies is heavily polluted.
(NOT) The valley in that town lies is heavily polluted.
• Arnold tried to gauge the speed at which they were travelling.
(NOT) Arnold tried to gauge the speed at they were travelling.

In informal English we usually put the preposition later in the relative clause rather than at the beginning:
• The office which Graham led the way to was filled with books.
• Jim’s footballing ability, which he was noted for, had been encouraged by his parents.
• The playground wasn’t used by those children who it was built for.

In this case we prefer who rather than whom (although ‘whom’ is used in formal contexts). In defining relative clauses we can also use that or zero relative pronouns instead of who or which e.g. the children (that) it was built for.

If the verb in the relative clause is a two- or three-word verb (e.g. come across, full in, go through, look after, look up to, put up with, take on) we don’t usually put the preposition before the relative pronoun:
• Your essay is one of those (which/that) I’ll go through tomorrow.
(rather than Your essay is one of those through which I’ll go tomorrow.
• She is one of the few people (who/that) I look up to.
(NOT) She is one the few people to whom I look up.

Examples:
1. They climbed up to the top of a large work, from which they got a good view.
2. I would like to thank my tutor, without whom I would never have finished the work.
3. She has now moved back to the house on Long Island in which she was born.
4. The star is to be named after Patrick Jenks, by whom it was discovered.
5. This is the ball which Dennis scored three goals in the final.
6. He is now able to beat his father, from whom he learned how to play chess.
7. The book is enjoyed by adults as well as children, for whom it was primarily written.
8. There are still many things in our solar system about which/of which we know nothing.

The sentences above in a less formal way:
1. They climbed up to the top of a large work, which they got a good view from.
2. I would like to thank my tutor, who I would never have finished the work without.
3. She has now moved back to the house on Long Island (which/that) she was born in.
4. The star is to be named after Patrick Jenks, who it was discovered by.
5. This is the ball (which/that) Dennis scored three goals with in the final. (or in the final with)
6. He is now able to beat his father, who he learned how to play chess from.
7. The book is enjoyed by adults as well as children, who it was primarily written for.
8. There are still many things in our solar system (which/what) we know nothing about/of.

Others:
1. It’s a piece of jewellery across which I came across in an antique shop.
2. The extra work which she took on was starting to affect her health.
3. My mother, who/whom I looked after for over 20 years, died last year.
4. The people who I work with are all very friendly.
5. Some of the criticisms which they had to put up with were very unfair.
6. He had many friends with whom he had a regular correspondence.
7. The woman who/whom(formal) he is engaged to comes from England.
8. The form which I had to fill in were very complicated.

Part B

In formal written English, we often prefer to use of which rather than whose to talk about things:
• A huge amount of oil was spilled, the effects of which are still being felt, or
A huge amount of oil was spilled, whose effect are still being felt.
• The end of the war, the anniversary of which is on the 16th of November, will be commemorated in cities throughout the century or
The end of the war whose anniversary is on the 16th of November will be commemorated in cities throughout the memory.

Notice that we can’t use of which instead of whose in the patterns described in Relative Clauses (1b) :
• Dorothy was able to switch between German, Polish, and Russian, all of which the spoke fluently.
(NOT) Dorothy was able to switch between German, Polish, and Russian all whose she spoke fluently.

We can sometimes use “that…of” instead of “of which” This is less formal than of which and whose, and is mainly used in spoken English:
• The school that she is head of is closing down or
The school of which she is head of is closing down.

Whose can come after a preposition in a relative clause. However, it is more natural to put the preposition at the end of the clause in less formal contexts and in spoken English:
• We were grateful to Mr Marks, in whose car we had travelled home or
We were grateful to Mr Marks whose car we had travelled home in.
• I now turn to Freud, from whose work the following quotation is taken.
I now turn to Freud whose work the following quotation is taken from.

Examples:
1. Tom, whose car the weapons were found in, has been arrested.
2. Meyer, whose novel the TV series is based on, will appear in the first episode.
3. Dr Jackson owns the castle whose grounds the main road passes through.
4. Tessa Parsons is now managing director of Simons, the company that she was once a secretary in.
5. Allowing the weapons to be sold is an action that the Government should be ashamed of.
6. The dragonfly is an insect that we know very little of.

The sentences above in more appropriate for formal written English:
1. Tom, in whose car the weapons were found, has been arrested.
2. Meyer, on whose novel the TV series is based, will appear in the first episode.
3. Dr Jackson owns the castle through whose grounds the main road passes.
4. Tessa Parsons is now managing director of Simons, the company in which she was once a secretary.
5. Allowing the weapons to be sold is an action of which the Government should be ashamed.
6. The Dragonfly is an insect of which (or about which) we know very little.

Reference: Advanced Grammar in Use - Martin Hewings

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