Tag Archives: clauses

#Diagramming Challenge #4 (sentence and answer)

For our fourth sentence, we’ll depart from movie quotes. This sentence is close to one I found myself writing in an email, and I realized that although it was perfectly clear (and grammatical — it IS acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition in English), it would make for a more complex diagram because of understood but omitted words.

Here’s the sentence: “Her research is something I have no clue about the topic of.”

Pen and notebook, with sentence "Her research is something I have no clue about the topic of."

Photo by Max Pixel, shared under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.

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That and which: Is it all relative?

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on March 31, 2010.

Some say that “that” and “which” are interchangeable. But are they? Careful writers still say no, and that distinct usage of the two words is necessary to distinguish two different kinds of relative clauses.

A relative clause is a dependent clause that gives more information about the noun (or pronoun) it modifies.
Here’s an example:
The dinosaur bones, which were found last summer, were the remains of a ferocious beast.

dinosaur
Relative clauses fall into two types: restrictive (also called essential) and nonrestrictive (nonessential).

Restrictive clauses, as the name implies, restrict the noun. What this means is that there is a larger group that the noun could belong to, but the restrictive clause lets us know that it’s more narrowly defined.
Here’s an example:
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