General Writing and Grammar Help/use of: "after which"

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Hi Ted,

So glad to see you are back!!!!  I hope everything came out great with your surgery.

My question is about the use of "after which" in the following sentence:  

"I take the green peppers, I cut the tops off them, I clean them, after which I stuff them with anchovies."

Can you please tell me if this is an example of the relative pronoun "which" being used in a prepositional phrase (after which) that functions as a connector to introduce the dependent clause.

In a previous question, you explained to me that "in which" is sometimes used in this fashion.  I was wondering if "after which" is used the same way.

Thank you so much.

Sincerely,

Rich

P.S.  I hope you had a great Christmas and I also want to wish you a Happy New Year.

Answer
Dear Rich:

So glad to see you are back!!!!  I hope everything came out great with your
surgery.

*** I have several months of physical therapy to go.  But, I have been back to the orthopedic surgeon, and the x-rays show no problem.  It's just a long healing process.
Meanwhile, I go to my eye doctor for round two of shots into my right eyeball, to slow
down the macular degeneration.  It's part of getting older.

*******

My question is about the use of "after which" in the following sentence:  

"I take the green peppers, I cut the tops off them, I clean them, after which I
stuff them with anchovies."

Can you please tell me if this is an example of the relative pronoun "which"
being used in a prepositional phrase (after which) that functions as a connector
to introduce the dependent clause.

In a previous question, you explained to me that "in which" is sometimes used in
this fashion.  I was wondering if "after which" is used the same way.

*** Rich, your memory is correct.  The "after which" is the same construction as the "in which."  While the sentence is grammatically correct, your style is questionable.  Here is the reason why:  

You have joined three independent clauses.  Then you add a fourth clause, which is a dependent clause.  Your sentence suggests that you are listing steps in a procedure.  Your style suggests that three of the steps are important [independent clauses].  The fourth step, however, is relegated to a dependent clause, as if it were not as important as the other three steps.

Your sentence would be much stronger if, after "clean them," you write "AND THEN, I stuff them with anchovies."  By writing the sentence this way, you are making each step equal.  You are also bringing about a strong conclusion with the words "and" and "then."

Happy New Year to you and Mrs. Rich!

Ted  

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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