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In the sentence,

When deeply absorbed in work, which he often was,he would forget all about eating or sleeping.

which is a relative pronoun standing for "When deeply absorbed in work, he would forget all about eating or sleeping".

Am I right? I am wondering why "which he often was" is put in the middle of the sentence?

Shouldn't it be at the end of the sentence like

"When deeply absorbed in work, he would forget all about eating or sleeping, which he often was"?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

"Which" refers to "deeply absorbed in work". He was often deeply absorbed in work. And when he was, he would forget about...

That is why it is in the middle of the sentence, it follows the phrase it refers to.

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It's a subortinate clause which is a part of a complete sentence which stands between two parts and cannot stand alone (for it wouldn't make sense by itself). It belongs in the center of the sentence and kinda works like a hook that adds a bit of extra information to make two standalone sentences join as one.

hope this helps :)

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