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My professor recommended I change my major, (   ) advice I did not follow 

hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,
I have a little question.
Which word would be appropriate for the blank, which or whose?
My professor recommended I change my major, (   ) advice I did not follow.

Thanks in advance.
Hirashin
 

Julie.chan

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Which word would be appropriate for the blank, which or whose?
Neither. Both of these would be ungrammatical.

In fact, I can't think of a good answer at all even thinking outside the box. What I think belongs in that blank is not one word, but two words: "which was". I can go to contortions to pick a single word (neither of the two you suggested), but I don't like those possibilities I'm coming up with.
 

bentenmusume

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Just to clarify, the reason that both options are ungrammatical as the sentence is currently constructed (and even native speakers like JuliMaruchan might have a hard time coming up with "correct answers" to fill in the box) is because you have what's often called a dangling modifier. The modifying clause is positioned such that it's connected to (and thus is interpreted as describing) the wrong word.

If you use "whose", it sounds like you're describing your major (not the professor) as a person who gave you advice. ("Which" is simply ungrammatical.)

For illustration, any of the following sentences would be valid:

My professor recommended I change my major, advice I did not follow.
(or, as JuliMaruchan said, "My professor recommended I change my major, which was advice I did not follow.")
My professor, whose advice I did not follow, recommended I change my major.
My professor recommended I change my major, which was English literature, to economics.

This page has some more examples that might be helpful:
https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/597/1/
 

hirashin

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A translator who is an English native speaker says "which" would be appropriate.
My professor recommended I change my major, which advice I did not follow.
He says this type of "which" can be used in legal documents.
And he also says,
My professor recommended I change my major : advice I did not follow.
can be also used.
What do you think?
 

OoTmaster

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The first example doesn't sound right to me. In my opinion you would need to include the word "is" or "was" after which for the meaning to be clear.
The second example looks correct as the colon comes after a complete sentence.
 

Julie.chan

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A translator who is an English native speaker says "which" would be appropriate.
I think he's an idiot if he thinks, as a native speaker, that "which" belongs there by itself. Either that, or he didn't actually read the rest of the sentence correctly. You can easily tell as a native speaker just by how it sounds that something is wrong there.

My professor recommended I change my major : advice I did not follow.
Ugh, that's not as bad as "which", but that is not proper use of a colon. This is syntax that reminds me of what Yu-Gi-Oh cards started doing recently, where that kind of thing makes sense because the purpose is conciseness and clarity in technical language. But real conversations don't work like that. If someone wrote that on a forum, it would look to me like it was written by a robot.

Also, a colon can't be separated from the word that precedes it by a space.

He says this type of "which" can be used in legal documents.
I've read quite a few legal documents and never seen that. Legalese is not so fundamentally different from English that it sacrifices basic grammar rules, especially not to the detriment of clarity which is the whole point of why it's different from regular English in the first place.
 

Michael2

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Completely agree with JuliMaruchan.
Another possibility is they might have skim-read it and read it as "advice which I did not follow", which would make sense.
 

PatrickNZ

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How about using "that" rather than "which". Sure I could use "which", but I generally do not for my written work as I construct my sentences in a particular way. (And I am certainly not an expert in grammar.)
I did think the sentence in the original post was unusually constructed.
- and on legal documents, you can write those in English so they are readable - depends on who is writing them.
 

Julie.chan

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How about using "that"
I would almost approve of that if what preceded it was a semicolon, but what precedes it is a comma.

I still maintain that while you can force some words in there that are sound grammar, e.g.:

- sound
- good
- horrible
- stupid
- unsolicited
- career

...the real problem is with the question and the whole assumption that one particular word should be there in the first place. If the only intention is to say that the recommendation was given and you went against that recommendation, without loading it with whether or not that was a good thing, then you would use something like one of these:

- My professor recommended I change my major, advice I did not follow.
- My professor recommended I change my major, which was advice I did not follow.
- My professor, whose advice I did not follow, recommended I change my major.
- My professor recommended I change my major, which I did not do.

Note that both "which" and "whose" can be used for the sentiment. It just has to be arranged in a way that is different than presented. You can also use neither.
 

PatrickNZ

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I agree about the badly phased question.
However, (yes, I'm starting a paragraph with "however") I think the meta context is more humorous:
My professor suggested I change my major so he would not have to be my professor any more.

If I think back to my university days and structure, that would be the real reason behind the suggestion. Certainly variations on the theme. But I understand that while Heads of Department were usually the only people with "professor" as their title, other universities confer the title to lecturers or teachers.
(and I probably used the colon incorrectly)
 
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