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    #1

    Relative Pronouns with identifying and non-identifying

    Hello teachers,

    I'm a ESL student, and I always found the grammar is confusing like relative pronouns with identifying / non-identifying.
    I don't understand when should I add "commas" before "which" and "who"
    For example:
    1. The dress,which was a family heirloom,was worn at the wedding.
    2. The book which I just finished is by Eddie Hoffman.
    Why I have a commas before which in question 1?
    Why I don't have a commas in question 2?

    3. My sister,who lives in New York City, comes to visit me in August.
    4. I have three sisters. My sister who lives in New York City comes to visit me in August.
    Question 3 is adding additional information about the noun.
    How about question 4?

    Thanks,
    Yuki

  1. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Relative Pronouns with identifying and non-identifying

    In #2, there is more than one book, and you are referring to the one you just finished.
    In #4, you have more than one sister, and you are referring to the one living in New York City.

    http://grammar-monster.com/glossary/...ive_clause.htm
    http://grammar-monster.com/glossary/...ve_clauses.htm
    The above explanations about restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses could be helpful to you.
    I am not a teacher.

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Relative Pronouns with identifying and non-identifying

    Note my corrections to your original post, Yukicheng;

    I don't understand when should I I should add "commas" (no inverted commas) before "which" and "who".

    1. The dress,which was a family heirloom,was worn at the wedding. (space after commas)
    2. The book which I just finished is by Eddie Hoffman.
    Why do/must/should I have a commas before "which" in question 1?
    Why I don't have a commas in question 2?
    3. My sister,(space)who lives in New York City, comes to visit me in August.


  3. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Relative Pronouns with identifying and non-identifying

    1. I have read many books. The book which I just finished is by Eddie Hoffman.
    2. I bought a book last month. The book, which I just finished, is by Eddie Hoffman.

    Is that correct?
    I am not a teacher.

  4. Piscean's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Relative Pronouns with identifying and non-identifying

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    1. I have read many books. The book which I just finished is by Eddie Hoffman.
    2. I bought a book last month. The book, which I just finished, is by Eddie Hoffman.
    We are far more likely to use the present perfect in the second sentences in BrE.
    Speakers of AmE are far more likely to use 'that' in (1).

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    #6

    Re: Relative Pronouns with identifying and non-identifying

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Note my corrections to your original post, Yukicheng;

    I don't understand when should I I should add "commas" (no inverted commas) before "which" and "who".

    1. The dress,which was a family heirloom,was worn at the wedding. (space after commas)
    2. The book which I just finished is by Eddie Hoffman.
    Why do/must/should I have a commas before "which" in question 1?
    Why I don't have a commas in question 2?
    3. My sister,(space)who lives in New York City, comes to visit me in August.

    Thanks Piscean!
    Can you please explain to me why should I have a comma in question 1 and why I don't have a comma in question 2?
    Thank you :)

  5. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Relative Pronouns with identifying and non-identifying

    In #1, the non-restrictive clause gives extra information about the dress and is not essential for understanding.
    In #2, the restrictive clause identifies the book you are referring to and is essential for understanding.
    I am not a teacher.

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