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Takuya
Please teach me what "of which" means in the sentence.
People found a new source of entertainment while peering through Sir David Brewster's invetion, the kaleidoscope, the ever-changing patterns of which fascinated them.

I read that sentence in a book.
I guess I know what the sentence says, but I'm not sure what "of which" means, because I learn "of which" means "whose" but "whose" is mismatch this sentence.

so I guess "which" means kaleidoscope.
the ever-changing patterns of kaleidoscope fascinated them.

However, I've never seen that type of grammar before, so I don't have confidence.

Please teach me what "of which" means.

Apr 27, 2020 3:52 PM
Comments · 4
You are correct — “of which” means of the kaleidoscope. We could also use “whose”. Although some pedants consider the use of “whose” to be appropriate only in reference to people, the reality is that “whose” works much better in some sentences, so educated native speakers are not afraid to use it. This usage of “whose” is not merely a modern fashion, but actually pre-dates the English language. We could thus say “… whose ever-changing colors fascinated them”.

April 27, 2020
Thank you Mr.Phil, Ms.Marta and Ms.Sonya.
I really appreciate it.

Arigatou gozaimasu!
April 27, 2020
Hi Takuya!

You're right, of which herein means "of the kaleidoscope".

You need to use of which instead of whose because of the order of the relative clause. In the example you've read, "of which" is modifying the subject "ever-changing patterns". However, as "of which" refers to "the kaleidoscope" and you do not introduce the relative clause just after "the kaleidoscope", you need to use of which.

Now, check out how you could use whose:

People found a new source of entertainment while peering through Sir David Brewster's invetion, the kaleidoscope, whose ever-changing patterns fascinated them.

In this second example, the relative clause express that the ever-changing patterns are owned by the kaleidoskope. Thus, the relative clause (whose ever-changing patterns fascinated them) is modifying the subject kaleidoscope.

Hope that helps! :)
April 27, 2020
That sentence sounds quite stilted. If I had written that sentence myself, afterwards I probably would frown at the "of which" and say, "Hmmm....can I write that sentence in a different way to make it seem less awkward?" Even if I were writing something formal (like a college essay), I would prefer to write the sentence in a way that flows a little more naturally, in order to make it easier for any reader to read.


April 27, 2020
Takuya
Language Skills
English, Japanese
Learning Language
English