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I'm looking for a phrase to replace the topic of which was, with the goal of brevity. For example, could something like

The novel, the topic of which was whaling, proved to be excellent reference material for my upcoming whaling expedition

be reduced somehow?

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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

'The novel, which was about whaling . . .'

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+1 Also "on", "regarding", and "concerning". –  JeffSahol Nov 20 '11 at 22:10
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You can write

The novel, whose topic was whaling, proved to be excellent reference material for my upcoming whaling expedition.

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You may want to consider using the verb "to pertain".

The novel pertaining to whaling proved to be excellent reference material for my upcoming whaling expedition.

Alternatively, why not just use "about"?

The novel about whaling proved to be an excellent reference material for my upcoming whaling expedition.

Merriam-Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pertain

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The novel, the topic of which was whaling, proved to be excellent reference material for my upcoming whaling expedition.

Terms whaling-centered and whaling-related are worth considering. If they are used, the second occurrence of whaling might be left out. For example:

The whaling-centered novel provided excellent reference material for my expedition.

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