Is It Correct to Say “Of Which”? (Helpful Examples)

“Of which” is part of a relative clause. You might not come across it often, but it would help to know when it applies. This article will explain everything you need to know about using “of which” correctly.

Is It Correct to Say “Of Which”?

“Of which” is grammatically correct, and you may use it in your writing. It is a prepositional phrase allowing you to explain something more about a noun. You might say “I ate three doughnuts, of which jam was my favourite.” This includes “of which” in a relative clause.

Is It Correct to Say Of Which

It’s most common to see “of which” like this:

  • She looked into the history of the land, of which there was a lot of turmoil and war.
  • I told him about the answers, of which at least three were impossible to solve alone.

As you can see, “of which” creates a relative clause. It always comes after a comma when it’s used like this. It also comes directly after a noun to give further information about it.

You can use a quantifier before “of which” to show how much of the noun you’re talking about. In this case, the quantifier comes after the noun and comma like so:

  • I had a dozen apples, many of which weren’t ready to eat.

In any of the above cases, you may remove the relative clause from the sentence, and it will still make sense. For example:

  • I had a dozen apples, many of which weren’t ready to eat.
  • I had a dozen apples.

How to Use “Of Which” in a Sentence

There are two main ways to use “of which.” One uses a quantifier. The other does not.

Here are some examples showing how to use “of which” at the start of a relative clause with and without quantifiers:

  • I am afraid these are the problems, of which we need to figure out the solutions before it’s too late.
  • I needed thirteen eggs, some of which should be laid by that chicken over there.
  • These are your only choices, one of which will result in serious issues if you pick it.
  • I’m not going to go over the parts, of which I believe you have no reason to learn.

These examples demonstrate using “of which” as a relative clause. It starts the clause and continues by explaining something about the noun.

A relative clause is an additional piece of information. It is not required in the sentence, but many writers include them to add something extra.

Comma With “Of Which”

Now you’ve seen many examples; you should have a better idea of how commas work with “of which.”

“Of which” always comes after a comma, but the position may change depending on whether a quantifier is used.

For example:

  • I did not want to find out more things, of which I already knew too much.
  • I could have had three tries, one of which would have guaranteed my success.

Without a quantifier, “of which” comes directly after a comma. The comma offsets the relative clause, allowing you to create a dependent clause that adds more information to the noun (in this case, “things”).

With a quantifier (“one”), the comma still comes before “of which.” It has to come before the quantifier as well, though, meaning that “one” is now the first word of the relative clause.

The rules stay the same whether a quantifier is used or not. The only change comes from the position of the comma relative to “of which.”

Alternatives to Using “Of Which”

There are some less clunky alternatives to “of which” that should help you improve your writing. While it works and is grammatically correct, some of these alternatives will be more useful to you.

Which… Of

The simplest correction is to swap the position of the preposition “of.” You do not need to write it before “which.” Instead, you may include it later in the relative clause.

Here are two similar sentences to identify the key change:

  • I ate three apples, of which only one was tasty.
  • I ate three apples, which only one of was tasty.

This is valid and grammatical. However, it’s somewhat jarring in most written cases.

Therefore, “of which” and “which… of” are both jarring phrases that are difficult to use properly in formal writing. There’s one solution that avoids all these problems, though.

New Sentence

You may remove “of which” entirely and create a new sentence. The relative clause adds more information to a noun, but you may place a period after the noun and continue to explain it in a new sentence.

What does that mean for your writing? Check out the following examples to find out:

  • I ate three apples, of which only one was tasty.
  • I ate three apples. Only one was tasty.

Here, “of which” is completely removed. You’re left with two independent sentences instead. This is much more streamlined and effective.

The second sentence still explains the first, but you don’t have to worry about the unnecessary “of which.”

This is the best thing to do when writing formally. It is concise and gets to the point with no extra words.

What to Remember

“Of which” should always come after a comma to start a relative clause. However, it’s not the most effective phrase in formal writing.

To remain formal and clear, remove “of which” entirely. Stick to writing two separate sentences when explaining more about a specific noun.