Like you see in the title, I am wondering if there's a way to make the noun get modified by 'which'.

For example,

'An apple is a kind of fruit, which is red.'

is this sentence correct grammarly? I mean, 'apple = red' but not 'a kind of fruit = red' If 'which' in this sentence modify fruit, not apple, how can I change to make 'which is red = apple'?

I hope you guys catch what I mean...


  • It would be better without the comma, because the relative clause is restrictive (it narrows down the set of fruit). I don't make the rules … Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 6:49
  • By "grammarly" you mean "in terms of grammar" or "grammatically". There is no such word as "grammarly" (pace Grammarly).
    – rjpond
    Commented Oct 8, 2020 at 7:35

2 Answers 2


You are first naming something as 'an apple,' then telling what it is - 'fruit' and then showing the quality (color) of the fruit -red. So, clearly, when you define that an apple is a fruit and then redefine the fruit which is red, the pronoun 'which' will apply to the fruit and not apple.

If I have understood your question perfectly, you are asking that 'which' should be applied to the apple and not fruit, then, change the order...

There is a fruit called apple, which is red.

Now, you talked about a fruit first, then introduced 'apple,' and then redefined it by adding its color. Clearly, the 'which' is now applicable to the apple and not fruit!

  • Thank you for your comment :) Can I ask you one more ? When I use MS word, this program sometimes notifies me with grammarly wrong sentences which I think is right. For example, 'This is a guitar which sounds nice.' I don't think this is wrong, but MS word always recommends me to correct 'which' to ',which' or 'that'. I don't understand why... :( Anyway, thank you in advance for the comment ! Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 6:09
  • That makes it another question. A comma and 'which' means you are defining the word. On the other hand, 'that' does not mean that you are defining it. It's all about restrictive and non-restrictive clauses. To be on a safer side, I generally use that. :)
    – Maulik V
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 8:26

Apples are by no means always red, but setting that aside, you could say "An apple is a kind of fruit that is red".

"Which" works too, although some style guides (especially in the US) advocate reserving "which" for non-restrictive relative clauses.

Here, we have a restrictive relative clause, so it is important that there is no comma after "fruit".

See https://ell.stackexchange.com/a/32/60894 for more information.

  • Fowler recommends it so there is a pretty good non-US authority. Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 17:07
  • By some accounts he was the first to recommend it, but I think he acknowledged that it was his recommendation, not a hard and fast rule (as some later presented it). In any case, in recent decades it seems to have been a rule that it is more widely advocated and more widely followed in the US than in the UK.
    – rjpond
    Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 18:07
  • Yes, it was his recommendation. In fact, as I read him, he more than implied that it was not a rule of English grammar, but rather a reasoned suggestion on style. Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 19:17

You must log in to answer this question.

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