Sentence 1: I was told my work was unsatisfactory, at which point I submitted my resignation.

Sentence 2:Sometimes you may feel too frail to cope with things, in which case do them as soon as it is convenient.

I am confused with "which" in the above two sentences. Does it serve relative determiner, rather than relative pronoun? Does "which point" in the first sentence stand for "I was told my work was unsatisfactory"?Does "which case" in the second sentence stand for "sometimes you may feel too frail to cope with things"?

Thank you in advance!

1 Answer 1


You understand this precisely. CGEL (398-9) identifies which, what, whichever and whatever as relative determinatives and remarks that

The only relative determinative found outside the fused construction is which. It occurs in supplementary but not integrated relatives.

The ‘fused construction’ is also known as the ‘free relative’ construction, so CGEL is speaking here of the use of which in bound relative clauses, as in your examples.

The supplementary/integrated distinction is more widely known as that between nonrestrictive and restrictive relative clauses: relative determinative which is not used in restrictive relatives. In Present-Day English the noun it determines (point and case in your examples) almost always refers to the entire head clause or to some implicit aspect of that clause’s content

At the point at which I was told that my work was unsatisfactory I submitted my resignation.

In a case in which you feel to frail to deal with things, do them as soon as is convenient.

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