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A restrictive clause is one that
A. should be set off by commas.
B. functions as an adverb.
C. usually occurs at the beginning of a sentence.
D. limits the meaning of the word it describes.
A restrictive clause is one that limits the meaning of the word it describes. For example, in the sentence “The students who study hard will get good grades,” the clause “who study hard” is restrictive. It limits the meaning of “students” to those who study hard.
If we remove the restrictive clause, the sentence would read: “The students will get good grades.” In this case, all students are assumed to be getting good grades, regardless of how much they study.
Non-restrictive clauses, on the other hand, do not limit the meaning of the word they describe. For example, in the sentence “All of the students, including those who don’t study very hard, will get good grades,” the clause “including those who don’t study very hard” is non-restrictive. It doesn’t change the meaning of “students” – all students will still get good grades.
We can remove a non-restrictive clause without changing the meaning of the sentence: “All of the students will get good grades.”
So, why do we use restrictive and non-restrictive clauses?
Well, sometimes we need to be specific about who or what we’re talking about. Other times, we don’t need to be so specific. It just depends on what we’re trying to say.
Here are a few more examples:
- The man who lives next door is a doctor. (restrictive)
- The man living next door is a doctor. (non-restrictive)
- I read the book that you recommended. (restrictive)
- I read the book you recommended. (non-restrictive)
- The students who are late will have to serve detention. (restrictive)
- The students who are late will get a detention slip. (non-restrictive)
As you can see, restrictive and non-restrictive clauses can change the meaning of a sentence, so it’s important to use them correctly!