Can someone provide 3-5 example sentences that use the phrase "which when"? I cannot find the exact usage by searching the Internet. Google n-gram viewer shows a slight increase in the use of this phrase (between 2000-2015). Nevertheless, I could not find any good examples.

This is an example sentence:

I am thinking of strategies to make money. An example of a good strategy is to adopt a dog which when patted leads to hidden treasure.

  • Did you mean using "which when" combinely? – Ahmed Jun 22 '18 at 13:15
  • @Iqbal Ahmed Siyal: Yes. – jsp99 Jun 22 '18 at 13:16
  • The reason you can't find it is because: The term which, when it was used, was now rather archaic, still created a flow problem in the sentence. – Lambie Jun 22 '18 at 15:05

"Which when" is not a phrase on its own. It's an awkward combination of words you get when you sandwich two clauses together.

In your example, if you add commas, it becomes obvious the two clauses are not the same:

I want to adopt a dog which, when patted, leads to hidden treasure.

"When patted" is a sub clause which has been inserted into the sentence. If you remove that clause the whole sentence still makes sense:

I want to adopt a dog which leads to hidden treasure.

So if you want some sample sentences you can just put random clauses in the middle of random sentences!

  • Here's a sentence which, when you take out the middle clause, still makes sense.
  • She got a new haircut which, when it's windy, blows all around the place.
  • I've got a keyboard which, when it's dark, lights up.

You can remove any of those commas and the sentence would still be valid. But it would be harder to read.


Here are certain examples of using "which when" in a sentence taken from searchsentences.com

  1. Within was a carved box which when opened showed a massive golden circlet.
  2. From this stone there comes a seed which when planted produces a new tree.
  3. By the way, the ice, which when I wrote you last was ten feet thick, is now thinner.
  4. It is a sleep which when compared to the day-consciousness, represents a higher state of being.

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