a ball is given to which

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polybolos

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, everyone.
I need help.

The fundamental difference between a ball and a dance is that people of all ages are asked to a ball, while only those of approximately one age are asked to a dance. Once in a while a ball is given to which the hostess invites every person on her visiting list.
-- quoted from Chapter 7 at 17. Balls and Dances. Post, Emily. 1922. Etiquette

Question

What is the role of which in bold? Does the which function as relative pronoun? What does the which suggest ? Give me suggestions, please.
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Yes, which is a pronoun which refers back to ball, and means the ball just mentioned (the one she only gives "once in a while").

    It is used here to allow ball to appear in both of the two phrases that make up this sentence. Each of them says something about the ball. The sentence really needs a comma to separate those two phrases more clearly:

    Part 1: Once in a while a ball is given,
    Part 2: to which the hostess invites every person on her visiting list.

    So Part 2, especially the idea of "inviting every person on her list", applies to which (to the once-in-a-while ball).

    This tells us that she invites fewer people to all her other social events. That is the main point the sentence is making.
     

    polybolos

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Hi, dojibear. Nice to see you , and thank you for answering!

    I've got it! I've got it!
    The sentence really needs a comma to separate those two phrases more clearly:
    Yes, a comma's being omitted really confused me, and due to my poor intelligence, I can't solve this question by myself. But thanks to your kindly and profound answering, I understood it , thank you so much!
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Also, because the relative clause is long, and the predicate is short, the predicate is placed first, separating the relative clause from its antecedent. This often causes confusion to learners:

    (1) Once in a while a ball [to which the hostess invites every person on her visiting list] is given.
    (2) Once in a while a ball is given [to which the hostess invites every person on her visiting list].

    (1) is the logical order with the relative clause next to its antecedent. But it could be difficult to understand what the predicate 'is given' refers to when it suddenly appears at the end. So (2) is a more natural order.
     
    Last edited:

    polybolos

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Hi, entangledbank, nice to see you and thank you for responding!
    Also, because the relative clause is long, and the predicate is short, the predicate is placed first, separating the relative clause from its antecedent. This often causes confusion to learners:
    Yes, I was a bit confused. But I understood it, thanks to kindly members at this forum, I appreciate it:) Thank you so much.
     
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