a sign on the gate that/which...

YueWei

Senior Member
Mandarin - China
Hi,everyone.
There is a sign on the gate ______ says 'Entry forbidden'
A.that B.which

Are both right? Thanks in advance.

Edit:'enter' to 'entry'.
 
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  • SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hi,everyone.
    There is a sign on the gate ______ says 'Entry forbidden'
    A.that B.which

    Are both right? Thanks in advance.

    Edit:'enter' to 'entry'.
    As to your question, yes, both "that" and "which" are correct. It is in non-restrictive relative clauses (those with commas) where "that" isn't used: The gate, which says "entry forbidden," is wide open.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    As to your question, yes, both "that" and "which" are correct. It is in non-restrictive relative clauses (those with commas) that "that" isn't used: The gate, which says "entry forbidden," is wide open.
    I think "isn't used" is a little too strict. "That" is unusual for a non-restrictive clause, but not unheard of.

    I agree that both A and B are correct answers. "Which" is more formal sounding, and it slows down the sentence more than "that".
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    I think there should be a comma after "gate" and the relative pronoun should be "which." In other words, the second clause should be a non-restrictive clause because I assume there is only one sign on the gate (and in the context, and it says "entry forbidden"). If we consider the second clause to be a restrictive clause (one without any comma), then the sentence suggests that there is a sign elsewhere too or there is a another sign, or at least something similar, too on the gate.
    My tow cents.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I think there should be a comma after "gate" and the relative pronoun should be "which." In other words, the second clause should be a non-restrictive clause because I assume there is only one sign on the gate (and in the context, and it says "entry forbidden"). If we consider the second clause to be a restrictive clause (one without any comma), then the sentence suggests that there is a sign elsewhere too or there is a another sign, or at least something similar, too on the gate.
    My tow cents.
    I disagree. The sentence in question is about the existence of a sign with "Entry forbidden" on it on the gate.
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    The sentence in question is about the existence of a sign with "Entry forbidden" on it on the gate.
    Yes, it is that's why I said it needs a non-restrictive clause. As a restrictive clause modifies its antecedent, "that says Entry forbidden specifies the sign on the gate, while the intended meaning doesn't seem to be specifying the gate sign but rather introducing its existence.

    Would you say "I have a car that runs on solar energy" if that was the only car you had and you weren't comparing the car with anything else (in the context your car being the only thing using solar energy) but just introducing the idea of your owning a car?
    Thanks.
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    Yes, it is that's why I said it needs a non-restrictive clause. As a restrictive clause modifies its antecedent, "that says Entry forbidden specifies the sign on the gate, while the intended meaning doesn't seem to be specifying the gate sign but rather introducing its existence.

    Would you say "I have a car that runs on solar energy" if that was the only car you had and you weren't comparing the car with anything else (in the context your car being the only thing using solar energy) but just introducing the idea of your owning a car?
    Thanks.
    Certainly.

    This is a restrictive (or essential) modifier because it is necessary to the meaning of the rest of the sentence, not parenthetical. "I have a car" does not say as much as "I have a car that runs on solar energy." "That runs on solar energy", in other words, is an essential part of what the sentence says the speaker has.

    Does that help?
     
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