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If some one loves a flower, of which just one single blossom grows in all the millions and millions of stars, it is enough to make him happy just to look at the stars.

Source: The Little Prince

What is 'which'? A flower?

And what does 'of' modify? I know 'of which' can be rephrased as in

"He is her son, of which she's proud"

"He is her son. She's proud of him"

But I can't find any verb to which I could put 'of'.

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You are quite right: "of which" is wrong here. If we re-order it we get, just one single blossom grows of a flower, which is not correct. Nothing grows of anything!

And saying, If someone loves a flower from which just one single blossom grows is horticulturally incorrect! Flowers are sometimes poetically called blossoms. Blossoms don't come from flowers: they are flowers. Whatever you call them, they come from plants.

We could say, if someone loves a flower, and it comes from a plant (which only ever bears a single flower and) which is unique in all the millions and millions of stars but that is rather wordy.

We could say:

    If someone loves a flower and  
    there is no flower like it in
    OR
    it is unique among 
    the millions and millions of stars. . .

We now have only the astronomical problem of flowers growing on stars. . .!

It's a much-loved book and perhaps the child's ignorance of grammar is part of its charm.

"He is her son, of which she is proud" means she is proud to be his mother. "Of which" refers to the fact that he is her son.

"He is her son, of whom she is proud" means she's proud of him.

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Yes, of which... in that context refers back to flower. See the string has commas at both the sides (before of and after stars) which means the flower is defined. Somewhat similar to non-restrictive clause.

Just a correction -

*He is her son, of who/m she's proud.*

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  • The use of the parenthetical kind of gives me the feeling that the part within the pair of commas is a non-essential clause. But without it, the sentence seems bizarre: If someone loves a flower it is enough to make him happy just to look at the stars. It should make sense if the part within the commas in in fact a non-essential clause. – AIQ Sep 24 '19 at 2:31
  • Thanks. But where should the 'of' be connected to? "grows of"? – dolco Sep 24 '19 at 2:41

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