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How can I say this sentence? With 'where' or 'which'?

The city of Copenhagen, where I have never been to, is the most-visited of all Scandinavian cities

Or

The city of Copenhagen, which I have never been to, is the most-visited of all Scandinavian cities Thank you so much

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    "where I have never been" or "which I have never been to". The word where subsumes many prepositions. – Peter Shor Sep 4 '16 at 22:55
  • @PeterShor Indeed, because where is a preposition! – Araucaria - Not here any more. Sep 27 '16 at 12:56
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Non-defining relative clauses is the same as nonessential (nonrestrictive) dependent clauses

You want the relative pronoun, which, with its antecedent (the word it stands for) Copenhagen. It introduces the adjective dependent clause and has a purpose in the clause as the object of the preposition in the prepositional phrase "to Copenhagen" in the clause.

The city of Copenhagen is the most-visited of all Scandinavian cities.

which I have never been to = I have never been to which = I have never been to Copenhagen.

CORRECT: The city of Copenhagen, which I have never been to, is the most-visited of all Scandinavian cities.

However...

I know you can use where as a pronoun too, but, in certain situations, of which I have no idea, or did at one time and now have forgotten.

This is from Garner’s Modern American Usage. 2003. 832.

where. In formal prose, where should not be used as a relative pronoun instead of as a locative—thus, not case where but case in which. But if you want a relaxed tone, where may be more suitable. In the following example, the contraction I've might not comfortably fit in the same sentence as in which—hence where is justifiable:

"I've deliberately chosen an example where this unspeakable cluster did not stand out." Richard A. Lanham, Revising Prose 29 (1979)

Garner is saying, with this, “In formal prose, where should not be used as a relative pronoun instead of as a locative—thus, not case where but case in which.” In that you shouldn’t place emphasis on location by using where. But...if you want a relaxed tone, use where. At least that’s how I am reading it. Other opinions welcome.

The question would be, Who's your audience? Tone and attitude are the two biggies in composition as far as your audience is concerned. A college essay? Use which. A tour guide of some kind? Use where. Just my opinion.

"12e. Consider your attitude toward the subject and the tone you want to express."—John E. Warriner. Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition. Third Course. Liberty Edition. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt, Brace, and Jovanovich. 1986. 342.

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The city of Copenhagen, where I have never been to, is the most-visited of all Scandinavian cities.

There are two weaknesses with this example. First, a syntactic one: here "where" means "to where", where the "to" component is contributed by "where" together with its locative function. Effectively, then, "to" is occurring twice. The simple solution is to drop the "to", so you have The city of Copenhagen, where I have never been, is the most visited … .

The second issue is one of style. Some supplementary (non-defining) relative clauses with "where" are perceived as being somewhat inelegant and best reserved for informal speech only. This example is one of them, I'm afraid, and your second example, below, with "which" is better.

The city of Copenhagen, which I have never been to, is the most-visited of all Scandinavian cities.

This is a much better alternant then the first, since this time there is no ‘duplication’ of the preposition “to” and it avoids the style issue with "where".

  • There is nothing wrong with using where for non-restrictive relative clauses. At least, not according to Purdue OWL, which is a reputable website. Do you have any source for your recommendation that these be reserved for informal speech? English is confusing enough to learn without adding additional rules that native speakers don't follow anyway. – Peter Shor Sep 6 '16 at 2:30
  • Just read my answer. Who said anything about an 'additional rule'? – BillJ Sep 6 '16 at 2:39
  • I don't care too much for The city of Copenhagen, where I have never been, is the most-visited of all Scandinavian cities. You may disagree, that's up to you. – BillJ Sep 6 '16 at 2:43
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    But isn't The city of Copenhagen, where I went to school ... much better than The city of Copenhagen, which I went to school in ...? – Peter Shor Sep 6 '16 at 3:29

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