I wrote:

I have a dependency treebank including 100 structures, which I divide into a training set and a test set.

Should I say which I divide it into ....? or that I divide it into...?

cause in its current form sounds weird to my ears! I used to passive relative clauses like "which is divided into...", then using an active relative clause was a bit weird!! are they common as passive relative clauses?!

for example was it better to rephrase it as ...

"... which is divided into ...."

  • I don't see anything wrong with it, except that both occurrences of "set" should be plural.
    – MorganFR
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 9:47
  • No, because a dependency treebank... is the object of the relative clause: I divide a dependency treebank ... into .... Inserting "it" would mean there are two objects which is not possible. Yes, you can rephrase it the way you suggest.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 10:05
  • 1
    After your edit, both "which I divide(d)" and "which is divided" are correct. However using the passive clause omits the detail that you were the one to divide them. If this last bit is irrelevant, the passive form is preferable. Also, since you only have only two sets, you might consider "split" or "separated" instead of divided.
    – MorganFR
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 10:35
  • @MorganFR part of its weirdness was because of present tense, which I divided sounds better
    – Ahmad
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 10:39
  • Please understand that you can't insert "it".
    – BillJ
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 10:43

1 Answer 1


No, relative pronouns (such as "which") can function as subject or object of the relative clause. Both your active and passive examples are fine.

  • Thanks, I modified the title of a question a bit, please consider that in you answer too.
    – Ahmad
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 10:38
  • What about "... that I divided it into...? is it grammatical?
    – Ahmad
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 10:41
  • 3
    @Ahmad No, it is not grammatical. The relative which replaces it in your sentence; which has to point forward to a "gap", to something missing in the following clause. When you leave it in place there is no gap, and the reader is puzzled to know what role which plays. Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 12:26

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