Restrictive and Nonrestrictive Clauses Exercise (611)

In each of the following sentences, determine whether punctuation separating parts of the sentence is required, and/or whether "that" or "which" should set up the phrase that follows.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: The statement was signed by John Smith, president of the UC Student Association that represents 240,000 students.
Correct : The statement was signed by John Smith, president of the UC Student Association, which represents 240,000 students.

The sentence suggests that of two or more organizations called the UC Student Association, John Smith is the president of the one that represents 240,000 students. But the identification of John Smith and the number of students his organization represents are two pieces of nonessential information tacked onto the main clause ("The statement was signed by John Smith") following a comma and "which."

2.
Original: Smith is a gold and coin dealer who just published the book "Profit from Gold and Rare Coins Now."
Correct : Smith is a gold and coin dealer who just published the book "Profit from Gold and Rare Coins Now."

This sentence is correct. A comma separating "the book" and the book title would suggest that "Profit from Gold and Rare Coins Now" is the only book in existence—or was referenced in a previous sentence. If this is the first mention of the book, however, punctuation should not separate the appositive phrase "the book" from the title.

3.
Original: Abdullah’s successor was announced as 79-year-old half-brother, Prince Salman, according to a Royal Court statement.
Correct : Abdullah’s successor was announced as his 79-year-old half-brother, Prince Salman, according to a Royal Court statement.

For this sentence to make sense, it must explicitly state that Salman is Abdullah’s half-brother, not merely a half-brother. If the latter were true, it would be incorrect for "Prince Salman" to be set off as a nonessential parenthesis, because he is not the only half-brother who exists.

4.
Original: He has yet to receive the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine that’s administered when children are one year old.
Correct : He has yet to receive the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, which is administered when children are one year old.

Only one such vaccine exists, so the explanation of when it is administered must be set off as a nonessential parenthetical phrase.

5.
Original: This term refers to feedback provided to the student, which expands and extends learning and understanding and encourages student participation in academic discussion and tasks.
Correct : This term refers to feedback provided to the student that expands and extends learning and understanding and encourages student participation in academic discussion and tasks.

Feedback does not always do what the feedback in this sentence is described as doing, so the part of the sentence following "that" is essential, and no punctuation should precede it.

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