Restrictive or not?

Subject: Restrictive or not?
From: Richard Mateosian <srm -at- C2 -dot- ORG>
Date: Sat, 3 Feb 1996 23:35:10 -0800

>The record description is a text entry which has no conditional logic.

>The record description is a text entry which does not have conditional logic.

Those posting about the above sentences seem mostly to think that the
dependent clause is restrictive. I don't agree, although the context is
incomplete, so it's hard to know for sure.

The writer appears to be describing a specific field on a form or in a
database (otherwise, why start the sentence with "the"?). This field seems
to have two properties:

* It's a text entry
* It contains no conditional logic

If the sentence started with "a" this could be the definition of "record
description." In that case the clause would be restrictive. However, while
that's an abstract possibility, it would be an extremely odd way to define
something called "record description." ...RM

Richard Mateosian President, Berkeley STC
Freelance Technical Writer srm -at- c2 -dot- org Review Editor, IEEE Micro

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