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11:43am on Saturday, 10th September, 2005:
The front page of today's The Independent has a big picture of New Orleans looking like the Venice of the Deep South, over which is a quotation from the accompanying article:
"Like September 11, whose fourth anniversary is this weekend, Hurricane Katrina is an event whose consequences will extend far beyond the physical, into the mind of America."
I'm not going to talk about the disaster itself (I remember watching Florida TV when they announced that Tropical Depression 12 was turning into Tropical Storm Katrina and hoping it wasn't going to head our way); rather, I'm going to talk about the quotation itself.
The sentence uses the word whose twice, in neither case referring to a person or an anthropomorphism. Given that both are described as events, you wouldn't say "who is September 11?" or "who is Hurricane Katrina"; why, then, would you use the word whose to refer to what who wouldn't?
The answer, of course, is that there isn't any single word you can use an alternative. "Like September 11, the fourth anniversay of which is this weekend, Hurricane Katrina is an event the consequences of which will extend far beyond the physical, into the mind of America.". It works (indeed, I'd actually say that myself as I never use whose when talking about objects), but it's a bit clunky. I'd almost invariable prefer "The man whose car broke down" to "The man, the car of whom broke down".
What we need is a possessive version of which, or, failing that, that.
"Like September 11, which's fourth anniversary is this weekend, Hurricane Katrina is an event which's consequences will extend far beyond the physical, into the mind of America.".
Yes, that would do it.
I note, however, that the use of like above should be as with...
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