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In non-defining relative clauses, the information is not essential to understanding the sentence, but gives additional information.
In defining relative clauses, the information given is essential to the understanding of the sentence. Defining relative clauses make clear which person or thing we are speaking about.
Examples: Mr. Brown, who enjoys going to the theater, has been invited to join our club. Whiting House, which was built in 1856, is an important local monument. Mr Brown is the man who has been invited to join our club. The fact that he enjoys going to the theater gives us additional, but not necessary information. In the second example, the year in which the house was built is additional, not essential, information.
Examples: They helped a man who was injured. I like houses which were built in the 19th century. In these first example, the defining clause tells us which man we are talking about. They only helped one man, the one which was injured. In the second example, the defining clause defines what kind of houses I like. I only like houses from the 19th century.
Puctuation If we leave them out (Mr. Brown has been invited to join our club. Mr. Brwn enjoys going to the theater.), we still know what Mr. Brown we are talking about. The only effect is that there is less information in the sentences. Punctuation is very important in non-defining clauses. A comma is placed before the relative pronoun and at the end of the clause.
We cannot write the defining clauses with commas, because they change the meaning of a sentence. Compare the following sentences. The passengers who fastened their seatbelts survived. (Which passengers survived? Only the pasengers wearing the seatbelts.) The passengers, who fastened their seatbelts, survived. (Because all the passengers were wearing their seatbelts, they survived.)
Use of the relative pronouns
Use of the relative pronouns Whose is a possessive pronoun (“cuyo”) for persons and things It is a story about a boy whose parents got divorced. The river whose bridge is in front of us is called the Cam Who for persons
Who for persons
Which for things
(This sentence does not make any sense. a old man asked him a question. The driver took you to school is from York. When he arrived at the airport. If we omit the subject. Insert commas where necessary. caught the airplane to New York. Which for things This is the book which I wanted. That for persons and things. Peter accepted. My wife who is in Paris will be returning tomorrow. it will not be clear what we mean. Mr Jackson whose son also goes to this school will be attending the party next weekend.The man who called you has just arrived. (the subjects are the bike and she) If both the subjects are the same. That is less formal than who or which. The driver who took you to school is from York. 1. Peter gave a short reply and the man invited him for a drink. Feel free to make a funny story! A man called Peter took an airplane to New York to visit his sister. We invited the boy who Tom had met the week before to the party. Are you the boy that lives next door? Can you see the tree that has no leaves? We can omit that if the subject in the main clause is different from the subject in the defining relative clause: The student you saw in Oxford is my neighbour. 6. Exercise 2 Work together to expand the following story by using as many non-defining relative clauses as you can. (the subjects are the student and you) The bike she borrowed belongs to me. we cannot omit the pronoun. 2. 5. 3. 7. The author's latest book which has become a bestseller is about two children in Jamaica. That is the building where they shot the film 'Vanilla Sky'. his sister invited him . The car which was a rare sports coupe was built in 1966. and after he had the drink. Our friends who we met at university are coming to visit next week. When he got to his sister's apartment.) Exercise 1 Decide whether the following clauses are defining or non-defining clauses. 4.
. he was surprised to see the same man. As he entered the room.into the living room.