In this sentence:

“I read your volumes over and over again, I was instructed in things by you, of which I was not only entirely ignorant, but seemed to myself to have learnt before”

Why did the writer say of which not which ? What is the difference ? What did exactly of used for ?

1 Answer 1


It's because you're ignorant of things; you can't just say

I was ignorant things.

Instead, it should be

I was ignorant of things.

and therefore the preposition must be used here as well.

  • 1
    This is not entirely correct. Reading this answer OP might assume that "of" is the only correct preposition, but you can be ignorant about things as well as (more rarely) other prepositions like "at", "on", "in". The preposition here matches what would otherwise be said if the sentence was written, "I was ignorant of many things before I was instructed by you".
    – Andrew
    Jan 2, 2017 at 15:22
  • 1
    For example, "I was instructed in things by you, about which I was not only entirely ignorant, but ..." would also have been correct. But you are right that some preposition is needed.
    – Andrew
    Jan 2, 2017 at 15:23
  • @Andrew I think you're nitpicking ... Jan 2, 2017 at 15:24
  • @Araucaria I'm a bit astonished you can say that, having been here as long as you have. I've only been on three months and been slapped silly at least half a dozen times for "incomplete" answers. In this case Welcome's answer is incomplete because it implies that "ignorant of" is the only correct idiom, when others are possible. I'm just encouraging an edit.
    – Andrew
    Jan 2, 2017 at 15:28
  • @Andrew Maybe I'm nitpicking about your nitpicking. I fess up. Jan 2, 2017 at 15:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .