The use of "which"

Is this sentence grammatically correct:

“Tom is very rich, which I am not.”

If it is, what is the antecedent of “which”?

Thank you very much.

Good question, I hope one of the English experts here can answer it.

Hi James M,

I see the which-clause as non-defining and ‘sentential’. In other words, it refers to the idea/circumstance in the main clause as a whole, and adds extra information that is non-essential to the main clause.

Look at definition 4 here.
[size=75]“The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.” ~ Albert Camus[/size]

You found my question interesting, WHICH pleased me very



Thank you very much for the informed answer. James

Does this one substitute your sentence

Tom is very rich but me.


No, that sentence is not grammatical, and most likely the ‘but me’ part would not be understood.

You can write a sentence this way:

  • Tom is very rich, but I am not.

In James M’s sentence, the which-clause is basically parenthetical. The second clause in the sentence above is not.

You can use ‘but me’ this way, for example:

  • In this town, everyone but me is rich.

[size=75]“If you can’t hear me, it’s because I’m in parentheses.” ~ Steven Wright[/size]

[color=red]Tom is very rich, which I am not.

It’s relevant to note this is an object relative clause as well. Which means the relative pronoun - which - is the object of the sentence as opposed to the subject (which is why it is followed by the subject “I” rather than a verb).

So writing it as two sentences:

Tom is very rich. I am not very rich.

As “very rich” is the object, it gets put before the subject ‘I’.

Same as this sentence:

[i]I have a car.

I parked my car.

I have a car, which (i.e. my car) I parked.[/i]

Though the post is not for a substitute, an alternative can be:
Tom is very rich, but not I.

Again, in In this town, everyone but me is rich, the but means except.