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    #1

    Rolltop desks are named after their sliding

    Rolltop desks are named after their sliding roll tops, or tambours, that cover the working surface of the upper part and can be locked.


    Is "that" properly used here? What about using "which"?

    Thanks!

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    #2

    Re: Rolltop desks are named after their sliding

    Both 'that' and 'which' are correct.

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    #3

    Re: Rolltop desks are named after their sliding

    Isn't it non-defining clause?

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Rolltop desks are named after their sliding

    Quote Originally Posted by Freeguy View Post
    Isn't it non-defining clause?
    It is a defining clause. Don't be confused by the commas around "or tambours".

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    #5

    Re: Rolltop desks are named after their sliding

    Quote Originally Posted by Freeguy View Post
    Isn't it non-defining clause?
    Semantically, it's non-defining. It's not as if they have other sliding roll tops that don't cover the working surface of the upper part and can't be locked.
    I'd use 'which', and call it a non-defining clause. But as the sentence exists, the clause is structurally a defining clause.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Rolltop desks are named after their sliding

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Semantically, it's non-defining. It's not as if they have other sliding roll tops that don't cover the working surface of the upper part and can't be locked.
    I'd use 'which', and call it a non-defining clause. But as the sentence exists, the clause is structurally a defining clause.
    What you say is true, but some/many people have never seen a roll-top desk. For them, the clause is defining.

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    #7

    Re: Rolltop desks are named after their sliding

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    What you say is true, but some/many people have never seen a roll-top desk. For them, the clause is defining.
    I don't think we can take people's acquaintance with an object into account when deciding whether a a clause is defining or non-defining.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 19-Dec-2013 at 08:58. Reason: fixing typo

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    #8

    Re: Rolltop desks are named after their sliding

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I don't think we can take people's acquaintance with an objject into account when deciding whether a a clause is defining or non-defining.
    I completely agree. Raymott's semantic objection was based on people's acquaintance with the object. As written, the clause in the sentence was "defining". That is all we really have.

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    #9

    Re: Rolltop desks are named after their sliding

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    What you say is true, but some/many people have never seen a roll-top desk. For them, the clause is defining.
    That's a quibble on "defining". A defining clause is also called a restrictive clause. In this case, it restricts which sliding roll tops the term "rolltop desk" is named after, ie. those "that cover the working surface ..."
    What you call "defining" is actually describing. For a person who's never seen a rolltop desk, additional information given in a non-restrictive clause is just as descriptive. I haven't heard of the concept of a clause being restrictive/defining only to some people. But I agree that this sentence could be written either way.

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    #10

    Re: Rolltop desks are named after their sliding

    If we leave out the sightly distracting "or tambours", we are left with Rolltop desks are named after their sliding roll tops that cover the working surface of the upper part and can be locked.

    It seems to me that the part in blue is a defning/restrictive clause. It also seems to me that it shouldn't be. The sentence should be:

    Rolltop desks are named after their sliding roll tops, which cover the working surface of the upper part and can be locked.

    This becomes clearer in the more obviously incorrect:

    Rusty got his nickname from his hair that is red.

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