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I have a question about the usage of "whose" and "of which". I have learned that

a. Do you see the mountain whose top is covered with snow?

and

b. Do you see the mountain the top of which is covered with snow?

have the same meaning.

Now, please consider

For a nation whose food culture is admired all over the world, Japan depends to a surprising degree on imported food.

If I use "of which" in this, would the correct sentence be

For a nation the food culture of which is …

or

For a nation of which the food culture is …?

  • It's probably imported food not important food. – Kris Jun 29 '18 at 7:44
  • See also: English Language Learners This question may already have been answered on this site or on English Language Learners. – Kris Jun 29 '18 at 7:49
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    There is no general rule saying that because a particular rephrasing works in one situation it must work in all similar-looking ones. 'Whose' is a strange beast; it fundamentally refers to people, but its acceptable broadened usage (a toaster whose element has gone) makes it ideal in " ... a nation whose food culture is ..." where 'nation' is arguably abstract but refers to people. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 29 '18 at 9:28
  • Thank you. Yes, it confused me as I thought "a nation" means "a country" in this context. – Yok Jun 29 '18 at 13:23
  • Please, Yok, what did your dictionaries and thesauruses leave unclear? – Robbie Goodwin Jun 30 '18 at 23:44
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"For a nation whose food culture is admired all over the world, Japan depends to a surprising degree on imported food."

In the given context, the reference is to "nation," not in the sense of a geographical entity but of a people. People have culture, people have food habits.

For an inanimate object, which would work well. For people, we need to use whose. So,

"For a nation the food culture of which is admired all over the world, …" would not work.

HTH.

As for the specific question of what would the sentence structure be when of which is to be used instead of whose, the sentence would be, at least hypothetically,:

"For a nation, … of which …"

Of which cannot simply take the place of whose, they are not the same part of speech, also notice the preposition of, so it goes after the food culture, not before.

"For a nation, the food culture of which is admired all over the world, Japan depends to a surprising degree on imported food."

  • Sometimes, whose is used for inanimate objects and for animals, but which is never used for human beings. I'd myself prefer not to use whose for inanimate objects and animals and use which instead. – Kris Jun 29 '18 at 7:48

protected by MetaEd Nov 27 '18 at 23:49

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