What Are Restrictive And Nonrestrictive Clauses? Explain With Suitable Examples
In English grammar, a restrictive clause, also known as a defining clause or a necessary clause, is a clause that provides essential information about the noun or noun phrase it modifies. A non-restrictive clause, also known as a non-defining clause or an unnecessary clause, is a clause that provides additional, non-essential information about the noun or noun phrase it modifies.
The main difference between restrictive and non-restrictive clauses is the use of commas. Restrictive clauses are not set off by commas, while non-restrictive clauses are always set off by commas.
Here are some examples of restrictive clauses:
“The cat that is sleeping on the couch is mine.” (In this sentence, the restrictive clause “that is sleeping on the couch” identifies which cat is being referred to.)
“The book which I borrowed from the library is interesting.” (In this sentence, the restrictive clause “which I borrowed from the library” identifies which book is being referred to.)
And here are some examples of non-restrictive clauses:
“My sister, who is a doctor, lives in New York.” (In this sentence, the non-restrictive clause “who is a doctor” provides additional information about the speaker’s sister, but it is not necessary to identify which sister is being referred to.)
“The movie, which I saw last night, was terrible.” (In this sentence, the non-restrictive clause “which I saw last night” provides additional information about the movie, but it is not necessary to identify which movie is being referred to.)
It’s important to note that restrictive clauses are essential to the meaning of a sentence, while non-restrictive clauses are not. If a restrictive clause is removed from a sentence, the sentence may become ambiguous or lose its meaning entirely. On the other hand, if a non-restrictive clause is removed, the sentence will still be complete and retain its meaning.
In summary, restrictive clauses provide essential information about a noun or noun phrase, while non-restrictive clauses provide additional, non-essential information. The use of commas is the main way to distinguish between the two types of clauses.
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