Results 1 to 5 of 5
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Iraq
      • Current Location:
      • Iraq

    • Join Date: May 2015
    • Posts: 14
    #1

    relative clauses

    Hi , could you please help me understand these:

    1." i spoke to a woman on the phone.She told me to call back later =

    The woman who I spoke to on the phone told me to call back later"

    Can we say "a woman who i spoke........" instead of " The woman who i..." ?

    if can't why?
    2.Are these defining or non-defining relative clauses? Why?:
    "The mall where i sometimes buy clothes has fabulous shops"
    "The computer games which i played yesterday for the firsttime are really great"
    "The cheque which i deposited on the 10th was for 450 pounds" thanx

    Last edited by Rover_KE; 21-May-2015 at 17:43. Reason: Enlarging font size and deleting multiple question marks.

  1. Calis's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Dec 2011
    • Posts: 172
    #2

    Re: relative clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by tigertiger View Post
    Hi, could you please help me understand these: (Punctuation must not be preceded by spaces)

    1. "I spoke to a woman on the phone. She told me to call back later." (The word "I" is always capitalised; there must be a space between the numbered bullet point and the quotation mark; every sentence must end in a full stop; there must be a space, or two depending on your preference, after a full stop and when you have an opening quotation mark, there must be a closing one as well.)

    "The woman who I spoke to on the phone told me to call back later" (Similarly, a closing quotation mark must have an opening one.)
    Can we say "a woman who I spoke to..." instead of " The woman who I..."? ("Spoke to" is a verb as a whole: to say just "spoke" is not correct; ellipses consist only of three full stops.)
    If you/one/we can't, why? (The initial word of every sentence must be capitalised and every verb must have an explicit subject.)
    (It is good style at this point to insert a blank line and create two paragraphs.)

    2. Are these defining or non-defining relative clauses? Why?: (Using a question mark and a colon together like this is questionable; although I don't know for certain, I would avoid it.)
    "The mall where I sometimes buy clothes has fabulous shops."
    "The computer games which I played yesterday for the first time are really great."
    "The cheque which I deposited on the 10th was for 450 pounds." Thanks. ("Thanx" is non-standard English: the rules of the forum state that you should always write in Standard English.)

    In this case, the use of the definite article ("the") denotes that the relative clause refers to a particular, specific woman, who has (as a general rule) already been introduced in the course of the conversation, or otherwise known or assumed to be known to all of the people speaking. You could say "A woman who I spoke to told me to call back later," but this would generally mean that the woman in question was being introduced into the conversation.

    As for the defining vs. non-defining relative clauses, firstly some (informal) definitions. A defining relative clause is one which is essential to understanding which thing or class of things you are talking about. It serves to say exactly which things we are talking about and which we are not; accordingly, if we were to take a defining relative clause out of a sentence, who or what is under discussion, and so the meaning of the sentence, would be changed. A non-defining relative clause on the other hand only add extra information, unimportant for telling us which things are under discussion as opposed to those which are not. Their removal from a sentence does not change who or what it being referred to nor the meaning of the sentence. However, in written language, there is a rule about these clauses: defining relative clauses are never separated by commas, but non-defining relative clauses always are. So, all of those relative clauses are defining.

    PS: I strongly recommend that you take good note of my annotations to your post and learn from them.

    [Not a teacher].

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Iraq
      • Current Location:
      • Iraq

    • Join Date: May 2015
    • Posts: 14
    #3

    Re: relative clauses

    According to my textbook, the last three relative clauses must be corrected.They must be non-defining relative clauses.
    "The mall ,where I sometimes buy clothes has fabulous shops." . Why ? why can't it be defining ?

  2. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,091
    #4

    Re: relative clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by tigertiger View Post
    According to my textbook, the last three relative clauses must be corrected.They must be non-defining relative clauses.
    "The mall ,where I sometimes buy clothes has fabulous shops." . Why ? why can't it be defining ?
    Yes, your three examples can be either defining or non-defining depending on your meaning. You either put a comma there or not to signify this. A non-defining clause has commas around it (if the clause doesn't finish the sentence), "The mall, where I sometimes buy my clothes, has fabulous shops."
    As they are written in your original post, they are all defining clauses, because they contain no commas.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 6,332
    #5

    Re: relative clauses

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Tigertiger:

    I think that the following sentence qualifies as a non-defining sentence.

    Mona: I saw you at the bank last week. You seldom [almost never] go to the bank. What were you doing there?

    James: Oh, I just went to deposit a check.

    Mona: I know that it's none of my business, but may I ask how much the check was for?

    James: Oh, sure. The check, which I deposited on the 10th, was for 450 pounds.

    Mona: Wow! That's a lot of money.

    *****

    In that context, I don't think that the information regarding the date of the deposit is essential. James just added the non-defining clause as some extra information. If he had NOT given the information, it would have made NO difference. Mona wanted to know the amount. She was not interested in the date of the deposit. In any case, she had a general idea ("last week").

    *****

    Let's try another one.

    James: There are at least 10 malls in this town. Which one do you suggest that my wife and I patronize?

    Mona: I suggest the Empire Mall on 8th Street.

    James: What's so great about the Empire Mall?

    Mona: Well, James, the mall, where I sometimes buy clothes, has fabulous shops and upscale [expensive!] restaurants.

    James: Super! My wife and I have been looking for a place with lots of nice restaurants. Thanks for the tip.

    As you can see, Mona has just "thrown in" the extra, non-essential information about buying clothes at the Empire Mall. James probably does not care. He was probably only paying attention to "The mall has fabulous shops and upscale restaurants."

    Don't forget: When you say those sentences, the commas indicate a slight pause. The information between the two pauses is considered non-essential. In fact, you could even write a non-defining clause like this: "Well, James, the mall (where I sometimes buy clothes) has fabulous shops" or "Well, James, the mall -- where I sometimes buy clothes -- has fabulous shops."
    Last edited by TheParser; 23-May-2015 at 20:53.

Similar Threads

  1. Relative clauses lead by relative adverb
    By herbivorie in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 17-Aug-2014, 03:53
  2. [General] The dropping of the relative pronoun in some relative clauses
    By greystroke in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-Jul-2013, 22:59
  3. RELATIVE CLAUSES
    By snoopya1984 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-Apr-2012, 10:47
  4. [Grammar] Are the 'which clauses' below relative clauses?
    By uktous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 16-Jun-2011, 10:50
  5. [Grammar] Help with using nonfinite clauses instead of relative clauses
    By Holoubkov in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 21-Mar-2010, 04:50

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •