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    #1

    Is comma needed?

    I completed a research project,which resulted in a discovery of human genetics.

    Should there be a comma after 'project'? Is the italicized part a defining or non-defining clause?

    Thanks in advance.

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    #2

    Re: Is comma needed?

    I'm sure that some of my fellow teachers will disagree with me, but I'd write it like this:

    I completed a research project that resulted in a...

    I think that your relative clause is defining (restrictive) and needs to be introduced by the relative pronoun that without a comma.

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    #3

    Re: Is comma needed?

    In British English, you can use 'which' in a restrictive clause as well as 'that'.

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    #4

    Re: Is comma needed?

    Hi Tdol

    I completed a research project,which resulted in a discovery of human genetics.

    I would like to know whether the clause in the above sentence is restrictive or non-restrictive.
    To me, it appears to non-restrictive, so a comma a required after 'project'.
    I completed a research project, and this project resulted in a discovery of human genetics.(There is only one project involved, no others.)

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    #5

    Re: Is comma needed?

    Sometimes (and I think your sentence could be one of those times) the only way to tell whether or not a clause is restrictive is by the author's punctuation. If you feel that that clause is essential to the meaning of the sentence, omit the comma.

    If the sentence is primarily about a research project, then the clause is non-restrictive.

    If the sentence is about a human genetics project, then the clause is restrictive.

    Only you, the author, can know what the sentence truly means. Use your punctuation and word choice to convey that meaning to your reader.

    Look at these examples:

    Did you go sailing this weekend?

    No, I completed a research project, which resulted in a discovery of human genetics.
    (The important fact is that I finished a research paper instead of sailing.)


    What have you done that has made an impact on the world?

    I completed a research project that resulted in a discovery of human genetics.
    (The important fact is that I have increased the understanding of human genetics.)

    Tdol is right (as usual). Many dialects and style books of English allow that or which to be interchangable in these cases. I just write the way I was taught

  1. #6

    Re: Is comma needed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    In British English, you can use 'which' in a restrictive clause as well as 'that'.
    Ditto NAE

  2. #7

    Re: Is comma needed?

    Quote Originally Posted by kohyoongliat View Post
    Hi Tdol

    I completed a research project,which resulted in a discovery of human genetics.

    I would like to know whether the clause in the above sentence is restrictive or non-restrictive.
    To me, it appears to non-restrictive, so a comma a required after 'project'.
    I completed a research project, and this project resulted in a discovery of human genetics.(There is only one project involved, no others.)
    Butting in...
    Hi Kohyoongliat,
    It is your decision and it does depend on the context.
    With a non-restrictive clause I usually imagine the main clause as a gerund, in your case "My/Me completing the research project resulted in a discovery..." If it is your completing of the project that resulted in the discovery than a comma is required becuase you are modifying the entire sentence, not just the noun "project".
    If the project itself (which seems more likely here) resulted in the discovery than I would use a restrictive clause (with "that" or "which"!)
    Hope that helps

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    #8

    Re: Is comma needed?

    Quote Originally Posted by fiona bramble View Post
    Butting in...
    Hi Kohyoongliat,
    It is your decision and it does depend on the context.
    With a non-restrictive clause I usually imagine the main clause as a gerund, in your case "My/Me completing the research project resulted in a discovery..." If it is your completing of the project that resulted in the discovery than a comma is required becuase you are modifying the entire sentence, not just the noun "project".
    If the project itself (which seems more likely here) resulted in the discovery than I would use a restrictive clause (with "that" or "which"!)
    Hope that helps
    I'm sorry to trouble you.

    My father, who loves me very much, is a doctor. I, like others, can have only one father, so a comma is required after 'father'. But "I've completed a project which resulted ... " requires no comma after 'project'. There is only one project in question as there is only one father, and yet no comma is required.

    I'm quite confused and would like you to explain why this is the case. I'm sorry for inconveniencing you.

    Best of everything.

  3. #9

    Re: Is comma needed?

    Quote Originally Posted by kohyoongliat View Post
    I'm sorry to trouble you.

    My father, who loves me very much, is a doctor. I, like others, can have only one father, so a comma is required after 'father'. But "I've completed a project which resulted ... " requires no comma after 'project'. There is only one project in question as there is only one father, and yet no comma is required.

    I'm quite confused and would like you to explain why this is the case. I'm sorry for inconveniencing you.

    Best of everything.
    Hi again & no trouble at all!
    First, "my father" has already been identified by "my" (as most people only have 1 father; if you have more than one sibling though [my sister], it would be different), so any further information is extra and therefore a non-restrictive clause is necessary.
    Second, a non-restrictive clause at the end of a sentence can have 2 roles: a. modifying the whole sentence (in gerund form: my finishing the project) or b. modifying the closest noun (project)
    This is why it is up to you (in your example), the speaker or writer, to define the context for the listener or reader by pausing in speech or placing a comma. Both are grammatically possible and sometimes contextually possible.
    Is that helpful?

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    #10

    Re: Is comma needed?

    Hi Fiona

    Now I understand clearly. It depends on emphasis.

    Many thanks for your explanation.

    Best wishes

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