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Hello guys

I'm sorry I am always an asker, but could you help me? What I would like to know is the difference in the usage and the meaning between the simple "where" and "which is where".

(EX) The truth of the matter is that in the United States, which is where this debate really is about, nine states have already taken the same position that the Congress took in 1996, saying we should not be destroying human embryos.

Do you find it odd if I change "which is where" here into simple "where"? If simple "where" is OK, why do you think the writer uses "which is where" instead of "where"?

paco
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Hi Paco,

I'm sorry I am always an asker, but could you help me? What I would like to know is the difference in the usage and the meaning between the simple "where" and "which is where".

(EX) The truth of the matter is that in the United States, which is where this debate really is about, nine states have already taken the same position that the Congress took in 1996, saying we should not be destroying human embryos.

Do you find it odd if I change "which is where" here into simple "where"? If simple "where" is OK, why do you think the writer uses "which is where" instead of "where"?


Which is where has the effect of giving a definition. 'where' would just make it seem adjectival. eg

Compare I live in China, which is where the government tries to control population growth.

to I live in China, where the government tries to control population growth.

I don't like the clause which is where this debate really is about. It seems to confuse subject and place in an odd way. The subject of the debate is abortion, not the United States.The clause seems written rather carelessly to me. It's just a quick, casual interjection.

Best wishes, Clive
i think

in the sentence above, " which " refers to the pervious clause and " where" functions as adverb.

can " where " refers to the previous clause ? I think not.
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Paco2004Hello guys

I'm sorry I am always an asker, but could you help me? What I would like to know is the difference in the usage and the meaning between the simple "where" and "which is where".

(EX) The truth of the matter is that in the United States, which is where this debate really is about, nine states have already taken the same position that the Congress took in 1996, saying we should not be destroying human embryos.

Do you find it odd if I change "which is where" here into simple "where"? If simple "where" is OK, why do you think the writer uses "which is where" instead of "where"?

paco
(EX) The truth of the matter is that in the United States, which is the place where this debate really is taking place, nine states have already taken the same position that the Congress took in 1996, saying we should not be destroying human embryos.

I made a few changes for clairity and hope you will more clearly see what the writer tried to convey.

pinenut
Hello guys

Thank you for the replies. I picked up this sentence from CNN.com online where two Congressmen are talking about the issue of human cloning. The sentence is actually spoken by Mr Dennis Kucinich from Cleveland.
KUCINICHWell, you have other nations that, such as France and Germany, that have taken a position that is similar to what the U.S. Congress has enunciated. The truth of the matter is that in the United States, which is where this debate really is about, nine states have already taken the same position that the Congress took in 1996, saying we should not be destroying human embryos.
I take "about" here as "going on", and I don't have any doubt about the grammatical credibility of the sentence. What I really want to know is whether you would feel any semantic difference if I replace "which is where" with simple "where" and which one you would feel more formal if there is no semantic difference.

paco
I take about here as active/astir, you might know up and about
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Paco, I think the sentence would have exactly the same meaning. As you know, when people are speaking, they don't always compose their thoughts well.

The "which is where" makes the entire U.S. the location of the debate and keeps the comment parenthetical. If it were "in the U.S. where this debate is taking place" (without a comma before "where") it could be seen as restrictive, specifying that there is some location in the U.S. in the midst of this debate, but it's not universally taking place across the U.S.

Like:

In the U.S., where they drink more carbonated beverages than anywhere else, the rate of obesity is rising. Parenthetical - "which is where" could be used here.

In the U.S. where it snows for more than three months of the year, the residents are more likley to own three coats than elsewhere in the U.S. where there's less than one month with snow.

(And these dumb sentences are entirely made up. No statistics were actually employed.)
Grammar GeekThe "which is where" makes the entire U.S. the location of the debate and keeps the comment parenthetical. If it were "in the U.S. where this debate is taking place" (without a comma before "where") it could be seen as restrictive, specifying that there is some location in the U.S. in the midst of this debate, but it's not universally taking place across the U.S.
Hello Barb

Thanks a lot for the detailed explanation. I really appreciate it very much because I cannot find no dictionary, no grammar book, no web site that explains this collocation of "which is where".

I understand you are saying that you use the collocation "which is where" to make it clear that the where-relative clause is used as a non-restrictive clause. Am I right?

And, if my understanding is right, does the sentence #4 in the example below sound to you a bit weird or too wordy?
1.) The airplanes bombed the rural areas, where enemies were most active.
2.) The airplanes bombed the rural areas, which is where enemies were most active.
3.) The airplanes bombed the rural areas where enemies were most active.
4.) The airplanes bombed the rural areas which is where enemies were most active.

paco
Yes, I agree. 1 & 2 are the same in meaning. You could infer that the enemies were active in all the rural areas. 3 is a restrictive - referring to particular areas amongst the all the rural areas. 4 is wrong (without the comma, which would make it the same as 2).

I had never thought about this construction before, but now that I have, I think we're in complete agreement.
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