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I particularly have some difficulties while using relative pronouns to illustrate a point. Let's consider the following example:

-> The local volcano has recently woken up.

Then, I want to add an additional information to the above sentence by inserting something like "The waking up of the volcano has triggered a turmoil in the surrounding community. Therefore, my combination of the two above sentences is like this:

-> The local volcano has recently woken up, triggering a turmoil in the surrounding community.

However, I still wonder if I can use a relative pronoun in the above sentence? Something like:

-> The local volcano has recently woken up, which has triggered a turmoil in the surrounding community.

I get confused because the relative pronoun "which" should refer to the subject or object right before it. But in this particular situation, does "which" refer to the whole clause "the local volcano has recently woken up" or only "the volcano" or nothing? I will appreciate any explanation and help!

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    Yes, the relative pronoun "which" has the whole main clause "The local volcano has recently woken up", as antecedent. This is a very common occurrence with supplementary (non-restrictive/defining) relatives; the kind with a comma. – BillJ Jul 10 '16 at 7:34
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CDO licenses the broadened usage you speak about:

which determiner, pronoun (ADDS INFORMATION)

B1 used to add extra information to a previous clause, in writing usually after a comma:

She says it's Charlotte's fault, which is stupid, and that she blames her.

He showed me round the town, which was very kind of him.

[inappropriate examples omitted]

One can imagine a determiner + suitable noun (statement/view, action; event in the original example) precursor. What the correct labelling of the POS for the looks-like-it-might-have-started-life-as-a-determiner 'which' now is, I wouldn't like to have to decide.

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