defining or non-defining relative clauses

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YueWei

Senior Member
Mandarin - China
Hi,members.
The following is from my grammar book called Advanced Grammar In Use:
The singer,who was recovering from flu,had to cancel her concert.

It is a non-defining relative clauses. I think it should be a defining relative clauses. I'm totally confused.
Thanks in advance.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Taken as an example from a grammar book, we don't know anything about this singer except that sentence. But in real life we wouldn't say that sentence on its own. We'd be talking about wanting to see a Renée Fleming concert, perhaps, and having mentioned the singer, we would then say that sentence about her. The singer had to cancel her concert. Or: The singer had to cancel her concert because she was recovering from flu. Or: The singer, who was recovering from flu, had to cancel her concert.

    For it to be a defining relative clause, we would have to have mentioned more than one singer. Then we could specify one of them: the singer who was recovering from flu (but not the other singers). This is a less likely scenario, I think.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    What is important is not what you call it (there are at least three different terms used for this type of sentence), but whether you understand the function of the commas after singer.

    What are you not clear about (if you are still confused, that is)?
     

    YueWei

    Senior Member
    Mandarin - China
    This is from the exercise:
    unit53.2 :Rewrite these sentences including the information in brackets as relative clauses(defining or non-defining).
    1.The singer had to cancel her concert.(she was recovering from flu)
    The anwser given by the book:The singer,who was recovering from flu,had to cancel her concert.
    I think the answer is 'The singer who was recovering from flu had to cancel her concert.'(there is no commas .)
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The exercise allows you to use both forms of clause.
    But it does imply that there is only one singer, in which case no commas would be written.

    By leaving out the commas, you are saying that there is more than one singer and defining which singer you are talking about.
     
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