Wednesday 10 October 2012

Grammar: In / At / Of / On / For / From ... Which (Active Voice)

Image from funderstanding

In today's lesson, my student Tommy asked me a nice question and it is worth a lengthy article on the English Playground.

In FORMAL writing, we often see the structure " In / At / Of / On / For / From ... Which", most of the time they are easy to understand when reading, but not so simple when one has to write like that.

Let's begin with the ACTIVE VOICE, since they are easier to understand. My examples will be casual ones for your easy understanding.

ParkNShop is a supermarket which sells various products.

I guess no one will have trouble with this sentence.

1) ParkNShop is a supermarket in which you can buy various products.

In this case, in which is the same as WHERE, and we can understand this because we also say "in a supermarket"

2) ParkNShop is a supermarket at which you can do shopping.

Again, because we also say "at a supermarket", so we can use at which and it has the same meaning as where once again.

Thus, from the previous examples, we can easily see 1) and 2) are transformations of the sentences,
"You can buy various products in a supermarket such as ParkNShop" and
"You can do shopping in a supermarket such as ParkNShop".

I'm not promoting for ParkNShop, just use it because it sounds more familiar to our Hong Kong readers.
Moving onto "of which".

To make it obvious that I'm not promoting ParkNShop, here are some new examples,

3) There are many fruits for sale. All of which are/is overpriced

You can see of which means THEM or THOSE. Are is more common than is.

4) There are many fruits for sale. Some of which are/is rotten. Are is more common than is.

Same as 3).

5) There are many fruits for sale. One of which is banana.

Same as 3) and 4).

6) There are many fruits for sale, of which the cheapest is banana.

Same as "the cheapest of those is banana."

Moving onto "on which","for which" and "from which",

The basic rule of grammar still stays, which means that onfor (in fact, with in, at, of) depends on the SUBJECT.

7) The day on which I lost my wallet was the day I went to do my grocery shopping.

Same as "that" or "which".

8) My desktop PC had been a tool and a friend for which I am grateful.

Same as "I am grateful for my desktop PC as it had been a tool and a friend to me".

9) The country from which I came was at war all the time.

Same as "I came from a country which was at war all the time".

A point I must emphasize is that this list is NOT at all exhaustive, other possible usage will hopefully be covered in another entry in the near future.


overpriced -- (adj) too expensive
grocery -- (n) [C] (UK also grocery shop US also grocery storeold-fashioned a grocer's from groceries [plural] the food that you buy in a grocer's shop or supermarket
exhaustive -- (adj) complete or thorough


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