1

reference: part of something you say or write in which you mention a person or thing - Longman

How can I analyse the phrase in which?

I asked a similar question before - Here

However, this sentence is quite different from the previous one. In the previous case, in which was located right after a noun. So it was easy to find the subject of in which but it is located after a verb ("write") in this sentence. The only subject is part of something. If so, what's the meaning?

Here is my attempt. According to the previous answer,

  1. reference is part of something you say or write
  2. You mention a person or thing in the part of something.

I could understand these two sentences respectively but I'm struggling to find a relation between the two sentences. I think it's because of in which.

I mean,

  1. reference is part of something you say or write
  2. reference is a person or thing you mention.

These are more like acceptable to me.

7
  • 1
    Your first "2" is correct. Your last two alternatives are both incomplete - 2 is wrong because a reference isn't a person or a thing, it is a part of something you wrote. And 1 is incomplete because a reference isn't just any part of something you said or wrote, it is a part where you mentioned a person or a thing.
    – Oosaka
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 15:06
  • @RozennKeribin Thank you. hu.. it's very confusing. What's the main difference between "something you say or write" and "You mention a person or thing" Actually, "mention" and "say or write" are the same. I mean, if I said or wrote something, it means I already mentioned a person or a thing.
    – Choe
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 15:22
  • 2
    Not really; "mention" is specifically talking or writing about an external entity, in the context of a larger piece of writing or talking. And it will typically be short - so if I say a 2-hour speech mentioned climate change, all I'm saying is that the words "climate change" occurred at least once in that speech. "Something you say or write" is completely generic; it can include gibberish that means nothing, it can include many different subjects, it can have many different purposes. "A mention" is, within something you say or write, a subset that relates to one specific external entity.
    – Oosaka
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 15:28
  • 2
    Typically, in something you say or write you will mention many different things. The thing you say or write can cover an arbitrary number of subjects, but a "mention" will be about one specific thing. And you can have parts of what you say or write that don't "mention" anything external in particular, that aren't a reference. Like "Hello" for example.
    – Oosaka
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 15:32
  • 'part of something you say or write in which you mention a person or thing' is essentially an embellishment of 'discourse in which you mention a person or thing': the question remains the same. Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 19:01

2 Answers 2

1

"Part of something you say or write in which you mention a person or thing":

A reference is a part of something you say or write = that something is your outer shell, and the part is the inner reference piece.

Inside that something (in which), you also mention (you quickly say, but just in passing) a different person or thing. This inside item is the reference. The term in which connects the two halves without repeating something.

We would not say Here is some tea, and the tea will relax you.

We would say Here is some tea, which (and the tea) will relax you.

Likewise, we would not say Here is some tea, and stirred inside the cup of tea I put honey.

We would say Here is some tea, in which (stirred inside the cup of tea ) I put honey.

0

"In which" is a prepositional phrase, so it doesn't have a subject.

What's tripping you up here is that the noun phrase contains two relative clauses in succession, each modifying different things. Its structure is "(a) part of [ something you say or write ] in which you mention a person or thing." In this, "you say or write" is a bare (non-wh) relative clause modifying "something"; "in which you mention a person or thing" is a wh-relative clause modifying "part of something you say or write."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.