which phobia


Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: which phobia

  1. #1

    which phobia

    whenever I need to use 'which' in cases like 'a man which saw him yesterday' I feel that it sounds somehow wrong and try to get around it with something like 'a man who saw him..' but it also sounds queer and even worse. Do you use 'which' a lot? Is there anything wrong with it? Or with me?

  2. #2
    Global Moderator Squalid Glass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, Colorado
    Posts
    1,731
    Blog Entries
    1
    "Which" normally introduces non-restrictive clause. That's a good way to think of its use.
    "I don't do anything with my life except romanticize and decay with indecision."

    "America I've given you all and now I'm nothing."

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by alice_attarado View Post
    whenever I need to use 'which' in cases like 'a man which saw him yesterday' I feel that it sounds somehow wrong and try to get around it with something like 'a man who saw him..' but it also sounds queer and even worse. Do you use 'which' a lot? Is there anything wrong with it? Or with me?
    You're right in thinking that this sounds a little awkward.

    First, I would suggest, if you're not familiar with the term 'non-restrictive clause' that Squalid Glass pointed to, look this up because the explanation is helpful.

    Second, if you are a native English speaker sometimes you pick up a lot of what is right or wrong by noticing that awkwardness. It will become especially apparent if you read it aloud.

    So, what might I do with your example?
    'a man which saw him yesterday'

    Let's make a full sentence because my brain's complaining about this:

    I am looking for a man which saw him yesterday. (Nope, as you say, not right.)

    I am looking for a man who saw him yesterday. (This reads smoother, doesn't it?)

    In this case all the second half of the sentence does is describe something about the man who is mentioned in the sentence.

    So let's change the descriptive phrase and see which word works:

    I am looking for a man which was wearing a brown coat. (Ugh, no. This even seems to indicate that the man was an object.)

    I am looking for a man who was wearing a brown coat. (This works)

    It's a little more apparent in this example, perhaps.

    So when to use the word 'which'? Go back to the first point and research it a bit. Writing includes learning and once you know how to use 'which' with confidence you'll be happier writing!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by alice_attarado View Post
    whenever I need to use 'which' in cases like 'a man which saw him yesterday' I feel that it sounds somehow wrong and try to get around it with something like 'a man who saw him..' but it also sounds queer and even worse. Do you use 'which' a lot? Is there anything wrong with it? Or with me?
    You'd use who or that in that sentence rather than which.

    I tend to overuse that a lot, and replace it with which. As for whether there's anything wrong with it, not really unless it's overdone. As for whether there's anything wrong with you, I have no idea. Why do you ask? Are you presenting unusual symptoms? Are you feeling unwell?


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    The first cut don't hurt at all
    The second only makes you wonder
    The third will have you on your knee
    s
    - Propaganda, "Duel"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous








  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Foxee View Post

    So, what might I do with your example?

    Let's make a full sentence because my brain's complaining about this:

    I am looking for a man which saw him yesterday. (Nope, as you say, not right.)

    I am looking for a man who saw him yesterday. (This reads smoother, doesn't it?)

    In this case all the second half of the sentence does is describe something about the man who is mentioned in the sentence.

    So let's change the descriptive phrase and see which word works:

    I am looking for a man which was wearing a brown coat. (Ugh, no. This even seems to indicate that the man was an object.)

    I am looking for a man who was wearing a brown coat. (This works)

    It's a little more apparent in this example, perhaps.

    So when to use the word 'which'? Go back to the first point and research it a bit. Writing includes learning and once you know how to use 'which' with confidence you'll be happier writing!
    You can also use those words like "which" and "who" and "that" as markers where you might do a little worldbuild and enrichment in their stead; eg:

    I am looking for a man Polonius says was wearing a brown coat
    I am looking for a man seen wearing a brown coat
    I am looking for a man wearing a brown coat
    I am looking for a man claiming to have seen him yesterday.
    I am looking for a man the papers say saw him yesterday.


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    The first cut don't hurt at all
    The second only makes you wonder
    The third will have you on your knee
    s
    - Propaganda, "Duel"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous








  6. #6
    Member Sir-KP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Indonesia
    Posts
    493
    I'm guilty of using which, then, and, before, ​and when.

  7. #7
    I have been using it as of late. Those words are useful transitions. It's much better than first, second, and third.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  8. #8
    Member Tomkat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Here & There
    Posts
    83
    I don't think which applies to people. I mean, colloquially we do that and even more but in writing it just sounds wrong.

    The man who saw Charlie yesterday.
    The man Charlie saw yesterday
    The man who was seen yesterday.
    The man from yesterday.
    The witness was a man who yesterday saw him stealing from the store.

    I found this on dictionary.com:
    "The “rule” that which can be used only with nonrestrictive clauses has no basis in fact. In edited prose three-fourths of the clauses in which which is the relative pronoun are restrictive."

  9. #9
    Would Tom get away with his dastardly crime? Ella needed to find a man who saw him write the grafitti.
    If you are interested in your particular sentence, we probably need to see the sentence. It is, for example, difficult for him to refer to a man. And other possible issues.

    Which does not have the agree with the noun when it's an adjective/determiner: "I don't know which man you are talking about." But it does as a relative pronoun: "I know a man who can fix that."

    But who solves that problem. "I know a man who can fix that."
    My website (Hidden Content ) has good essays on starting a book and using metaphoricals.

  10. #10
    Yep, which is an easy word to overuse.

    But be sure to draw a line between using it in narration versus dialog.
    Nothing says you can't have a character who over uses the word, or even misuses it.
    Characters can have flaws in their speech pattern...just make sure only that one character has the flaw.
    It gives them their own voice.


    But in narration, avoid overusing the word.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.