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I have a question about relative clauses and possession, the answer to which I can find nowhere and I was hoping you could help me with that. We can say:

  1. This is the book whose title I had forgotten.
  2. This is the book the title of which I had forgotten.
  3. This is the book that I had forgotten the title of.

In sentence 3 above, we can say that "the title" is the object in the relative clause, which makes the last structure with "that...of" sound great.

What about the case when it is the subject of the relative clause? Eg.

  1. This is the book whose title is very clever.
  2. This is the book the title of which is very clever.
  3. ???

Is there a third case with "that...of"? And if so, is it like one of the following cases?

  • This is the book that the title of is clever.
  • This is the book that is clever the title of.

In my opinion, the former structure sounds a lot better, but still I'm not sure if it is correct. I'd appreciate any help!

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    In an instance such as that you don't really need a relative clause at all. You could simply say: This is the book with the clever title, or This is the clever-titled book. – WS2 Oct 31 '16 at 16:47
  • You're confusing relative clause formation with pied-piping, which is an optional feature of some relatives. – John Lawler Oct 31 '16 at 19:54
  • Thank you very much for your answers!! The thing is, i found the instance above in an advanced lever grammar book, that demonstrated ways of replacing "whose". It included this set: 1) This is the book whose title i had forgotten. 2) This is the book the title of which i had forgotten. 3) This is the book that i had forgotten the title of. What about the second set of sentences i included in my first query? Is "that ...of" possible in that case? Could you please specify that case? Would it sound good and is it acceptable? – kelly s. Nov 1 '16 at 11:29

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