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In my native language (Malay), it is possible to use a conjunction followed directly by a relative clause. (At least according to my intuition):

Ia satu pemandangan yang luar biasa, tetapi yang saya tidak mahu lihat semula.

Is this possible in English? For example:

It was a sight to see, but which I never want to see again.

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    It would be better as "It was a sight to see, but one which I never want to see again".
    – BillJ
    May 19, 2020 at 11:28
  • Or even better without the relative pronoun at all: It was a sight to see, but [] I never want to see it again. May 20, 2020 at 4:41

2 Answers 2

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Your example may be grammatical, but it is not idiomatic. English "likes" to have a relative pronoun immediately follow its antecedent and will typically insert "one" or some other dummy noun to create the standard pattern

There is a common exception, which involves prepositions.

the house in which he lived.

Some would say that ONLY that pattern is correct. Others, and I think the majority, would ALSO find correct the pattern below:

the house which he lived in.

I think the case of prepositions proves the point: English "likes" to have a noun immediately precede a relative pronoun, but will "tolerate" insertion of a single word such as a preposition. Nevertheless, I personally would never insert a conjunction as your example does. I would follow the lead of BillJ's comment and write "but one which."

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  • Your example "the house in which he lived" has nothing to do with the question asked. In your example, the relative pronoun 'which' is the complement of the preposition (not the complement of the verb) in the relative clause. You can place the preposition after the verb : "the house which he lived in". But "which" has its antecedent ("the house") in the main clause. It's not related with what is being asked by the OP. So, I recommend an edit. May 19, 2020 at 14:16
  • Conjunction is possible before the relative pronoun when the antecedent is omitted : "I know the boy who passed the test but whose sister failed it." May 19, 2020 at 14:23
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A conjunction cannot intervene between a noun phrase and a relative clause :

It was a sight to see, but which I never want to see again.

It should be like this :

It was a sight to seewhich I never want to see again.

"A sight to see" (NP) is the antecedent of the relative clause "which ..... again". We can't insert any coordinating conjunction between these.

When another subordinate relative clause is coordinated with this relative clause, a coordinating conjunction may be used :

It was a sight to see, which we enjoyed three years ago, but which I never want to see again.

Here two subordinate relative clauses are coordinated with the conjunction 'but', both of which have the same antecedent, the NP, "a sight to see".

However, we can place an antecedent before the relative pronoun "which" :

It was a sight to see, but one which I never want to see again.

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