TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Message from Internet From:"Brad Barnes (T)" <blb -at- FORMTEK -dot- COM> Date:Mon, 5 Feb 1996 12:33:45 -0500
Would you mind citing your source that states which can be both restrictive and non-restrictive? The sources I have read clearly make the distinction that which is non-restrictive, and that is restrictive. Also, are you using British or American English?
> -------------------- ORIGINAL MESSAGE TEXT --------------------
> > 1. The record description is a text entry which has no conditional
> > logic.
> > 2. The record description is a text entry which does not have
> > conditional logic.
> If this is not a definition, as seems likely from the context, the sentence
> should be something like "The record description is a text entry. It
> contains no conditional logic."
> Both of your sentences are grammatically correct, but you need a comma
> before "which," because the clause is non-restrictive. ...RM
> -------------------- END OF ORIGINAL MESSAGE --------------------
> Ah, but is it? "Which" can be correctly used in non-restrictive AND
> restrictive clauses (vs. "that," which is used only in restrictive
> 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.)