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1: Metal will bear beating with a hammer, which a stone will not.

2: He can write a letter in English, which I cannot.

In these examples does "which" act as a relative pronoun and stand for the phrases of "bear beating with a hammer" and "write a letter in English" respectively in the above two sentences?

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  • 1
    Yes, you are right.
    – None
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 14:00

2 Answers 2

1

While is the best choice here. In this context, 'while' expresses contrast. Consider the following examples for more claqrification: -Henry went about preparing breakfast, while Bill rolled the blankets and made the sled ready. -While he writes charmingly, he is not always truthful. -While I have a certain amount of intelligence, I have no esthetic sense. -while I possess the mathematical faculty, I am wholly without religious emotions. -while I am addictied to venery, I have little ambition. -While fire is hot, ice is cold.

Sources: A Modern English Grammar on Historical Principles, by Otto Jespersen - Part 4, Syntax

UNDERSTANDING AND USING FOURTH EDITION, Martha Hall and Betty S. Azar - TEACHER’S GUIDE

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  • The question is asking about the grammatical role of 'which,' not about how the sentence might be improved.
    – CDR
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 2:59
  • Actually, the use of 'which' in the two sentences provided by the user is not correct. Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 14:54
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You should use while (sense 4b).

I can't say for sure, but I don't think which is normally used this way. In your example I think you need a conjunction.

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    Which is perfectly idiomatic here. Commented Aug 16, 2014 at 13:45
  • @StoneyB Does "which" stand for the phrases of "bear beating with a hammer" and "write a letter in English"? Thanks in advance!
    – April
    Commented Aug 16, 2014 at 14:14
  • 2
    @April That's how I would read them, yes. Commented Aug 16, 2014 at 14:49
  • @StoneyB Thank you very much! You helped me a lot!
    – April
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 14:20

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