Guidelines for Punctuating Adjective Clauses
- Adjective clauses beginning with that are never set off from the main clause with commas.
Food that has turned green in the refrigerator should be thrown away.
- Adjective clauses beginning with who or which should not be set off with commas if omitting the clause would change the basic meaning of the sentence.
Students who turn green should be sent to the infirmary.Because we don't mean that all students should be sent to the infirmary, the adjective clause is essential to the meaning of the sentence. For this reason, we don't set off the adjective clause with commas.
- Adjective clauses beginning with who or which should be set off with commas if omitting the clause would not change the basic meaning of the sentence.
Last week's pudding, which has turned green in the refrigerator, should be thrown away.Here the which clause provides added but not essential information, and so we set it off from the rest of the sentence with commas.
Practice in Punctuating Adjective Clauses
In the following sentences, add commas to set off adjective clauses that provide additional, but not essential, information. Don't add commas if the adjective clause affects the basic meaning of the sentence. When you're done, compare your answers with those on page two.
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- Caramel de Lites which are cookies sold by the Girl Scouts contain 70 calories each.
- These are the times that try men's souls.
- I refuse to live in any house that Jack built.
- I left my son at the campus day-care center which is available to all full-time students with young children.
- Students who have young children are invited to use the free day-care center.
- A physician who smokes and overeats has no right to criticize the personal habits of her patients.
- Gus who gave Merdine a bouquet of ragweed has been exiled to the storm cellar for a week.
- Professor Legree lost his only umbrella which he has owned for 20 years.
- Healthy people who refuse to work should not be given government assistance.
- Felix who was once a hunter in the Yukon stunned the roach with one blow from a newspaper.