https://www.grammar-quizzes.com/clauses-8.html this site well explains about 'of which'. i sort of understand where to use it and what it means.

He bought a car, the brand name of which I can't remember.

this is one of examples on that site and here is another one.

a verb of which it is the subject.

as far as i know, i can place the preposition in front of a relative pronoun when the sentence ends with it. but in that sentence, the presence of the 'it' really confuses me and now i can't fathom what that sentence means. i really don't see the place where 'of' is able to go when i rephrase it.

could it be

a verb whose the subject is the verb itself.

?? i need help :(

1 Answer 1


You are confused because "a verb of which it is the subject" is not a complete sentence. It is missing a first half of the sentence or a later half. I see two options as to what the word "it" could mean, here:

Either it is

A. Standing in for a word that was in an previous sentence (or the missing first half of the sentence) or

B. "it" means literally the word "it", instead of being a replacement for another word. So:

a verb of which "it" is the subject

would mean that the word "it" was the subject for the verb in the sentence being talked about.

  • 1
    The combination(the + adjective) is grammatically plural even though there is no -s on the adjective. This means that neighbouring words which have to “agree” with it – a verb of which it is the subject, or a pronoun repeating it – must also be plural. this is the all context. i think that's a complete sentence already.
    – pheno8
    Nov 13, 2020 at 7:10
  • 2
    The sentence seems to be referring to expressions like 'the poor', 'the wounded' and so on. They mean 'people who are poor/wounded', so an expression like that takes a plural verb and the pronoun they. So "it" refers to the combination (the + adjective). Nov 13, 2020 at 10:00
  • @KateBunting thank you! so i'm clear if i paraphrase the original sentence, 'a verb whose subject is the combination (the + adjective).' is a correct paraphrased sentence right?
    – pheno8
    Nov 13, 2020 at 12:40
  • 1
    It's a correct paraphrase of that phrase, yes. Nov 13, 2020 at 13:09

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