Student or Learner
I would like to know the difference between "1" and "2".
1. Chemicals which were harmful to the animal and plant life were dumped into the river.
2. Chemicals, harmful to the animal and plant life, were dumped into the river.
The second sentence doesn't make much sense. When you use an appositive such as this ("harmful to the animal and plant life") it modifies the previous word. In other words, it seems to be saying that chemicals (that is, all chemicals) are by nature harmful to the environment.
Appositives are a wonderful tool to use, but they can easily be misused and become misleading. You might look through a website such as the following:
Note that many of the appositives modify single items. In other words, they are specific to the item being modified.
If we go back to your second example, it would work if you were referring to a particular chemical, e.g., "Benzene, harmful to the animal and plant life, was dumped into the river." I still prefer your first sentence, however.
1.- Only those Chemicals which were harmful to the animal .....only those - I repeat - were dumped into the river - not others
2.- Chemicals - in general terms - all of them, because all of them are harmful to the animal......, were dumped into the river.
Are these two interpretations correct?
Thank you very much
The problem with number 2 (as I see it) is that it is somewhat ambiguous. It might (as our Mr. Bhaisahab, whose opinions I admire, says) mean the same thing. But it could also lead the reader to surmise that it is saying something about chemicals in general.
I would stay with number 1 so that the meaning is clear. Number 2 also sounds a bit awkward. Again, those appositives need to be used with care.
I hope this is helpful. The fact is that you could probably get away with either one, so long as the context was clear.