I asked sentences having an appositive that-which phrase like the following sentence in English Language Learners.

The insect propagates best near "disturbed land," that which is being cultivated by humans.


But, I wonder how often this syntax is used and would like to see more sentences in which the appositive that-which syntax is used. If anyone saw such sentences, would you tell the sentences?

  • What's special about the 'appositive' that-which in any sentence? Have you Google for the collocation?
    – Kris
    Jun 5 '14 at 6:25
  • "he often would deny himself of that which was lawful, because he would not offend"; "Seek That Which Is Above: Meditations Through the Year"; "Hold Up That Which Holds You Up"; "If, then, that which has changed to B is in something other than B, say G, it must again be changing from G to B: for it cannot be assumed that there is no interval between G and B, since change is continuous."
    – Kris
    Jun 5 '14 at 6:28
  • Hi Kris. Google does not discriminate appositive that which from other that which. I am looking for phrases like noun+that which. The noun and that which describe the same things but do differently.
    – 243
    Jun 5 '14 at 15:57
  • I don't see that as a special case. Anyway, that style is dated now. books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=_NOUN_+that+which
    – Kris
    Jun 6 '14 at 7:15
  • @Kris Those examples aren't appositive. The pronoun and relative clause that modifies it do not merely restate the identity of, or give a definition of the preceding noun phrase Jun 15 '14 at 10:41

You asked for some additional examples in which "that which" immediately follows a noun and introduces a definition of that noun. Here are five. From Thomas Kelly, "Hymn DCCXLIV," in Hymns on Various Passages of Scripture (1853):

Sweet the service (else not so),

When the servant loves his master.

'Tis to thee, O Lord, I owe

Rescue from the great disaster,

That which fell upon our race :

Mine was once a fearful case.

From "The Word of Life" in James Kernahan, ed., The Exegete and Homiletic Monthly (1880):

It is of this higher, grander life, that which reunites us to God and makes us one with Him, and in Him one with all virtuous intelligences, that the Apostle speaks in the text. To make men partakers of this life is the whole design of the word.

From a 1987 translation of The Journals of André Gide, 1889-1949: 1889-1924 (1987) [combined snippets]:

Yesterday Roger Martin du Gard came to read me the part of Les Thibault that I did not yet know. Martin du Gard incarnates in my eyes one of the highest and noblest forms of ambition: that which is accompanied by a constant effort to perfect oneself and to obtain, to demand of oneself, the most possible.

From Kent Emery & Peter Wawrykow, Christ Among the Medieval Dominicans: Representations of Christ in Texts and Images of the Order of Preachers (1998) [snippet]:

The principles thus revealed are Articles of Faith. They are incapable of discovery by the unaided human intellect, and indemonstrable by any of the human sciences. They depend for their probative force on the higher science, that which is possessed by God and the blessed, which has been revealed by the Apostles and the Prophets; the scientific arguments of theology, properly speaking, are arguments from authority.

And from Thomas Grissom, The Physicist's World: The Story of Motion and the Limits of Knowledge (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011):

Space exists at all only by virtue of the material substance occupying it. Hence a void, or empty space, is not only impossible it is an oxymoron. The universe—that which exists—would be filled everywhere with matter as a prerequisite for its existence. If it weren't, it wouldn't exist at all.

The construction isn't especially rare, to judge from the relevant examples that turned up in connection with each NOUN + that which combination for which I ran a Google Books search.

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