Re: Message from Internet

Subject: Re: Message from Internet
From: Stephen Victor <svictor -at- LGC -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 1996 08:56:30 -0600

Karen_Mayer -dot- TOUCH_TECHNOLOGY -at- notes -dot- compuserve -dot- com wrote:

> Ah, but is it? "Which" can be correctly used in non-restrictive AND
> restrictive clauses (vs. "that," which is used only in restrictive

Since when?

> clauses). Inserting a comma changes the implied meaning of the sentences.
> Take for example:

> The lawnmower which is in the garage is broken.
> (There's more than one lawnmower, and it's the one in the garage that
> we're talking about.)
> The lawnmower that is in the garage is broken.
> (Same meaning as the above example)
> The lawnmower, which is in the garage, is broken.
> (There may or may not be other lawnmowers. The fact that the broken
> one is in the garage is simply extra information -- the main point is
> that the lawnmower is broken.)

I see you've been reading Strunk and White, who use lawnmower examples
as well. However, it seems you've added a sentence to bolster your case.
My copy of S&W (Third edition, 1979) doesn't have your first example.
Have Messrs. Strunk and White risen from the dead to revise their
original position on this issue?

Even if I'm mistaken about your source of information, the use of commas
is irrelevant. It's a pronoun issue (which vs. that), not a punctuation
issue. Both the first and third sentences mean precisely the same thing.


Stephen P. Victor svictor -at- lgc -dot- com
Landmark Graphics Corporation svictor -at- compassnet -dot- com
15150 Memorial Drive
Houston, TX 77079 USA De gustibus non disputandum est

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