Does modern English distinguish nonrestrictive and restrictive clause?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Shimmer Dancer, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. Shimmer Dancer

    Shimmer Dancer Senior Member

    Chinese
    Hi, everyone, I am wondering if nowadays native English speakers distinguish between nonrestrictive and restrictive clauses or not. Do they distinguish it in writing?

    For example,
    Many young people believe that the classics which do not accord with their taste are not good books.
    Many young people believe that classics, which do not accord with their taste, are not good books.

    Is there a difference between these two sentences?
     
  2. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Yes and Yes:D

    Many young people believe that the classics which do not accord with their taste are not good books. (The other ones, in contrast - the ones that do accord with their taste - are OK)
    Many young people believe that classics, which do not accord with their taste, are not good books.(The classics all are bad, and, by the way, they do not accord with their taste.)
     
  3. The Newt

    The Newt Senior Member

    USA / EEUU
    English - US
    I agree with Julian. In US English we generally distinguish as follows (note punctuation):

    Many young people believe that the classics, which do not accord with their taste, are not good books. (All classics are bad books.)
    Many young people believe that the classics that do not accord with their taste are not good books. (Only that ones that don't accord... are bad books.)

    UK English may be different.
     
  4. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    In the first, BE (mostly) follows the "comma which" form.
    In the second example BE will use either that or which.

    However, the key distinction present in both AE and BE is the presence or absence of the comma(s) - and the corresponding pause during speech.
     
  5. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    The Newt has very well explained the American stance on the question.
     
  6. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    For me (an AmE speaker), the choice of relative pronoun does not make a relative clause restrictive or nonrestrictive except for the fact that omitting the relative pronoun only works with a restrictive relative clause. The commas or lack of commas makes all the difference.
     
  7. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Unanimous:thumbsup:
     
  8. Shimmer Dancer

    Shimmer Dancer Senior Member

    Chinese
    Thank you very much, your answers are very clear and helpful!
     
  9. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    Nainital
    India - Hindi
    A good point. :thumbsup:
     

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