exercises, like long-distance running, which require

Julianus

Senior Member
Korean
Hello.

1a. They perform better in endurance exercises, like long-distance running, which require slow, steady muscle activity. (Korea university entrance exam)

I think like long-distance running gives an additional information to endurance exercises, using the commas. Then, since there is a comma before which-clause, we can't find out easily whether that which-clause is restrictive or non-restrictive relative clause. How can I find it? Does it just depend on semantic relation between an antecedant and the relative clause? If so, in this sentence, is the relative clause restrictive or non-restrictive?

Thank you always~.
 
  • Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Then, since there is a comma before the which-clause, we can't find out easily whether that which-clause is a restrictive or ​a non-restrictive relative clause.
    You are right about this. Usually a nonrestrictive clause can be recognized by the use of comma(s), but not here.
    If you omitted the distracting phrase "like long-distance running", then you would have to decide whether to put a comma after "exercises",
    and, as you suggest, it would depend on semantics. You would need a sports expert to tell you if some endurance exercises do, and others do not, require slow, steady activity.
    That said, I have two reasons to believe that the clause is nonrestrictive.
    (1) (If it was written in AE)— American writers tend to prefer "that" (not "which") for restrictive clauses. (I say "tend to", not that they always do so.)
    I think BE uses "which" in restrictive clauses more often than AE does.
    (2) If the writer intended to say, essentially, "exercises which require" (restrictive), then a more well-planned form of the sentence would be
    "They perform better in endurance exercises which require slow, steady muscle activity, such as long-distance running.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    "Like long-distance running" is simply an example. The clause beginning with "which" is indeed nonrestrictive.

    They perform better in endurance exercises which require slow, steady muscle activity, such as long-distance running.
    Cenzontle's example of a restrictive clause would ideally use that instead of "which".
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Cenzontle's example of a restrictive clause would ideally use that instead of "which".
    I totally agree, Parla. I regard "which" in a restrictive clause as an affectation, but I realize some writers just can't help it.
     
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