Fruits are an evolutionary mechanism, which IS… or which ARE…?

I wrote a sentence similar to the titular, and got feedback that it should be: “Fruits are an evolutionary mechanism, which ARE …” in order to keep consistent plurality (with the plural “Fruits”). But that sounds off to me — I was matching the plurality to singular “mechanism”. That is, I was intending to use … Read more

Do native speakers often use relative clauses?

Do native speakers use “relative clauses” much when speaking? For example: “The bag he is carrying is very heavy.” or “Have you seen the photos Ann took?” Do native speakers often talk like this? Answer Yes. See Frequency of Basic English Grammatical Structures: A Corpus Analysis (Roland et al. 2009): In the Switchboard corpus, representing … Read more

“Never attribute to malice THAT WHICH is adequately explained by stupidity”

The following sentence is part of a famous saying called Hanlon’s razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity I’m confused by the “that which”. Why do you need “which” here? Doesn’t “that” alone makes it a complete sentence? Answer Let’s split this sentence up: Never attribute to malice that which … Read more

Interpretation of an integrated relative in “my brother who doesn’t [live in New York]” in context

Here goes a sentence from a grammar test published on the online version of The Telegraph (UK): I should like to introduce you to my sister Amanda, who lives in New York, to Mark, my brother who doesn’t, and to my only other sibling, Evelyn. The question is whether Evelyn is male or female, which … Read more

Why is the subject omitted?

The class everyone had really been looking forward to was Defense Against the Dark Arts, but Quirrell’s lessons turned out to be a bit of a joke. His classroom smelled strongly of garlic, which everyone said was to ward off a vampire he’d met in Romania and was afraid would be coming back to get … Read more

“Outside there is a money receiver which only accepts coins” – or “that only accepts coins”? Which relative pronoun is better?

I’m preparing for academic IELTS by writing some essays and then correcting those using a grammar correction app. In the following sentence, Outside there is a money receiver which only accepts coins The app suggests using “that” instead of “which”. But is “which” also acceptable, or is it a critical mistake? Answer In prescriptive English, … Read more

What does “…was a saint, upon which declaration…” mean in this Wikipedia article?

Source Canonization is the act by which the Orthodox, Oriental Orthodoxy, Roman Catholic, or Anglican Church declares that a person who has died was a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. The bold part is hard to comprehend. Can you explain the structure, please? Answer … Read more