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Sentence: "I admire teachers who are knowledgeable and patient, which MAKE/MAKES their students feel confident."

I want to emphasize that the CIRCUMSTANCE which is created by teachers that are knowledgeable and patient creates an environment where students feel confident. Therefore this is a circumstance "...which MAKES students feel..."

However, "teachers" is plural and on top that there are two subjects separated by "and" (knowledgeable and patient) so it would seem I need to say "which MAKE their students feel confident." However, this sounds very wrong as a native English speaker.

I must be missing something. Does anyone have any clarification?

Thanks in advance!

  • If there is ambiguity as to what “which” refers to, rewrite it to remove that ambiguity. “... they make their students...” or “... and who are patient, both of which make their students...” – Jim Sep 26 '19 at 15:57
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The antecedent of the relative pronoun which is generally a noun or pronoun. The problem with your sentence is that you make which refer to the adjectives knowledgeable and patient. This does not work.

To rectify the problem, you could include a noun antecedent. The issue of makes or make then resolves itself because the grammatical number of the antecedent determines the number of the verb. For example:

  • I admire teachers who are knowledgeable and patient, qualities which make their students feel confident.

  • I admire teachers who are knowledgeable and patient, thereby creating an environment which makes their students feel confident.

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