This extraordinary behaviour (where the whale treads water!) is thought to have developed because pollution has made the Gulf of Thailand a hypoxic environment.

About the underlined "where," is it a modifier of "behaviour"? If so, is it common for "behavior" to be modified by "where"?

Or is it the same kind of "where" as this?

The meanings of new words are given where necessary.



That's a good question. Strictly speaking 'where' is used as a pronoun for a place:

- The old hotel, where I met him, is no longer there.

However, in informal English it is used with time or things that happen through time (I believe it's sometimes known as the place-time metaphor, or some may say that you are then using 'where' as a conjunction):

- This is the part of the film where Smith meets Jones.

- That is the sort of behaviour where people get into trouble.

So, the answer to your question, I'd say, is yes. It is possible for 'where' to modify 'behaviour'. But it is quite informal. It's good to recognise it, but you would need to be really familiar with it before you use it

Hope that helps


PS The formal equivalent is usually 'in which' (or another preposition with 'which'):

- This extraordinary behaviour, in which the whale treads water, has been observed many times.

- This is the point in the film at which Smith meets Jones.


OK. Thanks, dave!