Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This question already has an answer here:

I came across this literature recently:

An Owner may apply for a Change of Name of a registered Greyhound by submitting to the GBGB the appropriate form duly completed, which form shall include details of existing and/or prospective Part-Owners of the Greyhound, where relevant.

Is "which form" correct in this example? Why does the noun "form" need to be repeated; isn't the word "which" supposed to imply a noun from the previous clause? If the noun being implied is ambiguous, is it standard practice to clarify it by repeating it after "which" or not?

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by tchrist, RegDwigнt Apr 10 '13 at 22:44

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

2 Answers 2

It's common in American lawyer-mangled English. It is certainly common in legal documents. There are much clearer ways to write it (perhaps "...form duly completed. This form shall include...")

Lawyers always try to remove ambiguities (which, they fear, could be interpreted to the detriment of their clients), even if that makes for very awkward language.

share|improve this answer
    
Right, but is there any grammatical basis for adding the noun in after "which", or did the lawyers just invent this piece of grammar? –  Jez Jun 15 '12 at 8:23
    
"Which dessert do you want, apple pie or ice cream?" –  Joel Spolsky Jun 15 '12 at 15:04
    
"Tell the waiter which dessert you want." –  Joel Spolsky Jun 15 '12 at 15:05
    
But those are different senses of which - sense 1. The sense of which clearly meant in this example is sense 3, "(used relatively in restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses to represent a specified antecedent)". Does putting a noun after which in that sense of the word have a precedent? –  Jez Jun 15 '12 at 16:59

If you read old[er] literature it often appears in sundry texts, which texts comprise novels, essays, letters, &c. ;)

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.