The Phrase "Which was Why"

arjun78

Senior Member
India-Hindi
...is it okay to use it in past tense? Or, must it always be: That's why...

That's why he did it.

(or)

Which was why he did it. (past tense).

Warmly,
Arjun
 
  • caro55689

    New Member
    Español
    You should use "That's why he did it" you cannot change it to "which", it must always be "that's....." ; even in past form.

    I hope it helps.!
     

    nefeli

    Member
    Danish, Denmark
    "He didn't believe in discrimination, which was why he'd joined the demonstration in the first place". I believe that to be a perfectly correct sentence, caro55689. Obviously sentences starting with "which was/is" cannot stand alone. I think they're called consecutive clauses.
     

    Humpheego

    Member
    US English
    "He didn't believe in discrimination, which was why he'd joined the demonstration in the first place". I believe that to be a perfectly correct sentence, caro55689. Obviously sentences starting with "which was/is" cannot stand alone. I think they're called consecutive clauses.
    I agree nefeli, "which was why" is perfectly natural in this example.
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    You should use "That's why he did it" you cannot change it to "which", it must always be "that's....." ; even in past form.
    Hmm... sorry, but I think this is incorrect on two counts: 1) you can use "which"--it refers to the whole preceding clause, and 2) you can use "that is" in the past, namely "that was." See below.

    "He didn't believe in discrimination, which was why he'd joined the demonstration in the first place". I believe that to be a perfectly correct sentence, caro55689. Obviously sentences starting with "which was/is" cannot stand alone. I think they're called consecutive clauses.
    This is a perfect sentence. You could also say:

    He didn't believe in discrimination. That is why he...
    He didn't believe in discrimination. That was why he...


    There is no difference in meaning here, for me. Just remember that "which" is part of the sentence (it begins a relative clause), while "that" begins a new sentence.
     

    arjun78

    Senior Member
    India-Hindi
    "He didn't believe in discrimination, which was why he'd joined the demonstration in the first place". I believe that to be a perfectly correct sentence, caro55689. Obviously sentences starting with "which was/is" cannot stand alone. I think they're called consecutive clauses.
    Thanks. I thought so too. But how about this:

    He didn't believe in discrimination
    ; which was why he'd joined the demonstration in the first place.

    Is a semi-colon (that comes after discrimination) okay? I know in this case, it's unnecessary but imagine it's a longer sentence. Can 'which was why' follow the semicolon. If so, must there be a comma after which was why such as: He didn't believe in discrimination; which was why, he'd joined in the first place.
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    I would use a comma, seeing as it's just like any other relative clause.

    At most, you could use a dash ("--") or a colon (":"), but this would only be to create some stylistic effect. Grammatically speaking, the comma is what you want; the semi-colon would be wrong.

    I'm speaking for general AE writing rules.
     

    arjun78

    Senior Member
    India-Hindi
    I would use a comma, seeing as it's just like any other relative clause.

    At most, you could use a dash ("--") or a colon (":"), but this would only be to create some stylistic effect. Grammatically speaking, the comma is what you want; the semi-colon would be wrong.

    I'm speaking for general AE writing rules.
    I understand in this case, a comma would be correct. I was only talking about longer sentences.
     
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