she did give Jem a hot biscuit-and-butter(,) which he tore in half

Makel Leki

Senior Member
Russian
From To Kill a Mockingbird:
Calpurnia seemed to know all about it. She was a less than satisfactory source of palliation, but she did give Jem a hot biscuit-and-butter which he tore in half and shared with me.
I'm not sure why there is no comma in front of "which." She gave Jem only one biscuit-and-butter, so I would have expected a comma there. The which-clause doesn't identify the biscuit-and-butter in any way, in my opinion — there is just nothing to identify. It just says what Jem did to it.
 
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Me, too.

    (This a Southern American biscuit being discussed. Not a British-style biscuit.)
    download.jpeg
     

    Makel Leki

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thank you.
    Although his back was to us, we knew he had a slight cast in one of his eyes which he used to his advantage: he seemed to be looking at a person when he was actually doing nothing of the kind.
    Would you have added a comma here?
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The comma is something we would be likely to add in a self-consciously written document, but since the speaker is (in theory) meant to be expressing herself in the flow of her own natural voice the comma would come off as a bit pedantic.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Hmm... to me there is a slight pause after "in half" "hot biscuit-and-butter" and "which he tore in half and shared with me." is non-defining.

    Carelessness edited
     
    Last edited:

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    There is no pause with in half for me. "which he tore in half" is one thought.
     
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