This didn't help us at all. The question here is why "similar to which" is incorrect; or rather, th

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or rather, the choice "similar to those" is a better one. Please explain!

See example:

Colonists created schools similar to which they had known in Europe.
asked Apr 18 '12 at 18:49 Prajna New member

1 answer


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This is an unusual question.  Typically, this sort of question involves "which" versus "that" -- two relative pronouns -- or "that" versus "those" -- two demonstrative pronouns.

 

And therein lies your answer.  The pronoun "which" has only two uses -- to ask a question (which apple is best?) or to introduce a nonrestrictive clause. Restrictive and nonrestrictive adjective clauses are used to tell us something about the subject of the sentence -- in this case, "colonists".

 

Since the clause that follows which tells us nothing about the subject, but does tell us something about the sentence's object -- "schools" -- we must be looking for a demonstrative pronoun.  Demonstrative pronouns include this, that, these, and those, but not which. Since the object "schools" is plural and at a distance "in Europe", we are looking for those.

 

"The colonists created schools similar to those they had known in Europe."

link comment edited Apr 19 '12 at 06:10 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

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