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CHAT: which's

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Tuesday, February 25, 2003, 11:27
Andreas Johansson scripsit:

> >To say that 'which's' seems odd in that context would be an > >understatement. I'm not sure what the rules are about contractions, but > >that seems totally against them. > > It does? What, specifically, makes it odd in the above context? In what > contexts would you expect it?
"Which's" is never acceptable in standard English. Poking around on Google, I find it in one of three contexts: 1) There's a poem out there entitled "The Which's Ballad" by William Bell Scott, where it is clearly an eccentric spelling of "Witch's". 2) Non-native users (as indicated by the nature of the other errors they make) sometimes use it for "which is". 3) Occasionally native speakers use it as a replacement for the standard possessive relative pronoun "whose" (which is just an eccentric-but- standardized spelling of "who" + "'s") when the antecedent is inanimate. "Who" is never applied to inanimates, and there is a Sprachgefuehl against applying "whose" to inanimates either, notwithstanding it is standard. Here's an example of this usage: "Those commas in between signify each field you don't need to export but which's column you need to preserve." But the right thing for non-native speakers is simply never to use it. -- John Cowan To say that Bilbo's breath was taken away is no description at all. There are no words left to express his staggerment, since Men changed the language that they learned of elves in the days when all the world was wonderful. --_The Hobbit_


Tristan <kesuari@...>
Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>
And Rosta <a.rosta@...>