This is my sentence example:

A gives access to the decomposition of B, which is given by C.

What I want to convey is that B is given by C. And not A, nor B and nor decomposition. How do I achieve that? By using which, that or even no relative pronoun?

  • So what is it that C gives to B? Access, value, or what?
    – BillJ
    Nov 5, 2017 at 9:23
  • You do it in exactly the way you have. Because of the comma, which can only refer to B. Without the comma, it is at best ambiguous and which probably would refer to decomposition.
    – Andrew Leach
    Nov 5, 2017 at 9:29
  • It's the opposite way round, Andrew. Because of the comma "which" can have the NP "the decomposition of B" as antecedent. Without the comma, "which" would refer to "B". The comma is, as it happens, correct here, so we need to know what it is that C is providing to B.
    – BillJ
    Nov 5, 2017 at 9:37
  • @BillJ C gives more details about how B is defined. It really just gives another more specific, formal name. That's why I separated both B and C.
    – Belzebu
    Nov 5, 2017 at 11:03
  • @Belzebu Do you actually use the <A>, <B> and <C> in your sentence or are they replaced by other technical terms? Nov 5, 2017 at 11:04

1 Answer 1


The sentence as it stands is always going to be ambiguous & cause some confusion as to whether you are referring to "B" or to "the decomposition of B" as "given by C".

You could circumvent any possible confusion by restructuring & restating that it is B you are referring to:

A gives access to the decomposition of B, in which B is given by C.

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