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In the following sentence, can "as" be replaced by "which"? If so, is there no difference between the two, in this case? Do we call ‘as’ in the example as relative pronoun, or just pronoun?

There was a lot more to magic, as Harry quickly found out, than waving your wand and saying a few funny words.

(Harry Potter book 1)

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2 Answers 2

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If you wish to replace the "as" with "which" then you need to reconstruct the sentence.

There was a lot more to magic than waving your wand and saying a few funny words, which Harry quickly found out.

The "thing" which Harry found out is represented by all the words that come before it. Placing which in the middle of the sentence has the effect of ending it prematurely.

There was a lot more to magic, which Harry quickly found out. It was not just waving your wand and saying a few funny words.

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I'm not sure I buy this. I don't find any problem with: "There was a lot more to magic, which Harry quickly found out, than waving your wand and saying a few funny words" (although I'd consider using dashes in place of commas). Mind you, I'm not saying that your first restructuring wouldn't be an improvement, but I wouldn't regard it as "needed." If the sentence can be written as-is with "as", then I'd think it can be written that way with "which", too. –  J.R. Nov 16 '12 at 9:45

Yes, you can replace 'as' with 'which'. I think 'as' or 'which' are acting as interrogative pronouns, i.e. what did Harry find out? That there was a lot more to magic. I could be corrected on this.

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In this sentence it might work, but this is not always the case as it sometimes is used to mean because as well. –  Jim Nov 16 '12 at 6:18
    
Yes Jim, fair point. Is there a rule to describe when 'as' can be used instead of 'which'? –  Pete855217 Nov 16 '12 at 6:34
    
I doubt that there's a rule. It works in this sentence because of the semantics. They're not normally synonymous, e.g., "He was as quiet which a mouse"; "Which a rule, X is bad"; "Which I was saying"; "Which it's raining, the game was called"; "Which for me, I'm outta here". They're not synonymous in this sentence either, but they both work. –  user21497 Nov 16 '12 at 7:07

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