family's low income<which/what>can't support them

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Senior Member
Which one is correct in the blank space?and why?(I wrote this sentence and I doubt about it.)

--->One of reasons of working(?) women can be family's low income ----- can't support them so both parents are forced to work.
1) which
2) what
3)others....(please mention!)
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think you mean that the choice is between the relative pronouns "which" and "that". In this sentence you need to use "which" because "...,which can't support them,..." is a non-restrictive relative clause.


    Senior Member

    We avoid using 'what' - 'the family's low income what can't support them' is only said by badly educated people of a lower socio-economic group.

    This is a discussion which comes up frequently on the forum. I will try to locate some earlier threads for you.


    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    You need a relative pronoun to introduce a clause that modifies a noun or pronoun that is earlier in the sentence.
    (See relative, definition #7.)

    What is not a relative pronoun so it cannot introduce the clause modifying the family's low income: [---] can't support them.

    Which is a relative pronoun so it may be used here: which can't support them.

    Note: You may hear English speakers using 'what' in constructions like this. It is a dialectical use, especially associated with rural speech, and sometimes used in movies for that reason. However, to most people it sounds like an error and should not be imitated.
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