'In Which' and 'To Which'

03 November 2023

Hello! This week on Ask a Teacher, we answer a question about the use of prepositions with "which."


Dear VOA Ask a Teacher,

I am Shohei from Japan. I enjoy many contents of VOA learning English every day. I have a grammatical question for using "which" such as, in which, of which, from which, and so on. How do native English speakers immediately decide to use the correct preposition? I cannot understand these differences.

Best regards,

Thank you (^^)!


Thank you for writing, Shohei. This is a good question.

When we use "which" with a preposition, it is mostly in written English to note place, time, or manner (or the way that something is happening.)

The most often used prepositions with "which" are "in" and "to." The Corpus of Contemporary American English shows that "in" is used five times more often than "to." And they both make up more than 60 percent of all uses of a preposition with "which."

Many times, "in which" and "to which" are used as part of an expression in English. They include "the extent to which," "the way in which," and "the manner in which." Here are some examples:

We can explore the way in which nature changes.

Our future depends on the extent to which humans can stop climate change.

Fans were not pleased with the manner in which the trainer talked about the team.

One more thing, if you're not sure which preposition to use with "which", a good choice is "in" because it's used the most often.

Please let us know if this explanation has helped you, Shohei.

Do you have a question about American English? Send us an email at learningenglish@voanews.com.

And that's Ask a Teacher.

I'm Gena Bennett.

Gena Bennett wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English.