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At later lessons we would be given a printed slip of paper entitled “Search the Scriptures,“ which was sent to the school by whatever national authority supervised the teaching of religion. (source)

This sentence strikes me as ungrammatical and missing the relative pronoun "which/that" that should follow "national authority". Shouldn't it be like this?

At later lessons we would be given a printed slip of paper entitled “Search the Scriptures,“ which was sent to the school by whatever national authority that supervised the teaching of religion.

  • Which is referring to the paper, not to the authority. – Davo Nov 27 '18 at 14:21
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The presence of "whatever" changes the dynamic. If "whatever" had been "the", then you would be correct and the sentence would have to be:

by the national authority which supervised the teaching of religion

But "whatever + noun" is functioning as a relative pronoun here, and so the sentence is correct as it is. Here's another example:

Please put me in touch with whatever person sent me that email.

  • Yes, this is a 'fused' relative construction. The fusion involves "whatever national authority" (where "whatever" is a determinative) which serves simultaneously as head of the larger NP and as the wh phrase at the beginning of the relative clause. – BillJ Nov 27 '18 at 17:56
  • I would have called whatever an indeterminative. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 27 '18 at 19:22

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