In my native language, we can follow a noun with a "which + noun" clause to provide more information about the said noun. For example, if we want to say that a certain man owns a "house" and this house has a blue door and three storeys, we would say:

  1. "The man owns a house in London, which house has a blue door and three storeys."

I have mostly seen sentences with this structure in formal texts/legal documents.

Is this structure used in English, and if so, is it idiomatic?

  • 1
    It's not ungrammatical, but no one would say it like that. The antecedent of "which house" is the immediately adjacent NP "House in London", so there seems little point in using this particular construction. Further, repetition of "house" renders it stylistically inelegant. There are decent examples with determinative "which", but that's not one of them.
    – BillJ
    Oct 24, 2022 at 10:35
  • There is a pretty strong argument that the elements (owning a house; the house having a blue door etc) are sufficiently disparate to merit two sentences. But of course, you're asking about the syntax rather than the semantics. I'll look for a better example (BillJ guarantees they exist). Oct 24, 2022 at 11:11
  • 'The ECtHR approach when it addresses features of UK law for the first time, which law has already been upheld at the domestic level (under the HRA) as compatible with Convention rights.' [Committees - UK Parliamenthttps://committees.parliament.uk › writtenevidence] (about 2/3 the way down) (I suppose unavoidably highfalutin in the legal register). Oct 24, 2022 at 11:21
  • Is it really highfalutin if it is unavoidable, @EdwinAshworth? Oct 24, 2022 at 14:07
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    Thank you, @JohnLawler Oct 25, 2022 at 11:38

1 Answer 1


You are right - it's very formal, and is used only where it is necessary for the meaning to be very clear and specific. In ordinary speech/writing, we would omit the repetition of house, since the description fairly obviously refers to the house and not to London.

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