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The comma is exactly what you use to avoid ambiguity.

In the case of your first example, the absence of a comma before which marks the which-clause as restrictive—that is, the sentence refers only to those [files from the inquiry] containing embarrassing material. It is called restrictive because the sentence's reference is restricted or limited to those files identified in the which-clause. Only the files containing embarassing material were destroyed; other files were left untouched.

If you put the comma in, as in your A. example, the which-clause becomes non-restrictive—that is, the sentence refers to *allall [files from the inquiry], and the which-clause is just an added description of those files. All the files were destroyed, and they all happened to contain embarassing material.

With a non-restrictive clause you cannot use that—you must use which.

With a restrictive clause you may use either that or which. Some style guides (and some editors) claim that a restrictive clause should not use which but only that; but this ‘rule’ is not universally observed even in the most formal writing. It is only a ‘recommendation’, which you may follow or not, as you please.

The comma is exactly what you use to avoid ambiguity.

In the case of your first example, the absence of a comma before which marks the which-clause as restrictive—that is, the sentence refers only to those [files from the inquiry] containing embarrassing material. It is called restrictive because the sentence's reference is restricted or limited to those files identified in the which-clause. Only the files containing embarassing material were destroyed; other files were left untouched.

If you put the comma in, as in your A. example, the which-clause becomes non-restrictive—that is, the sentence refers to *all [files from the inquiry], and the which-clause is just an added description of those files. All the files were destroyed, and they all happened to contain embarassing material.

With a non-restrictive clause you cannot use that—you must use which.

With a restrictive clause you may use either that or which. Some style guides (and some editors) claim that a restrictive clause should not use which but only that; but this ‘rule’ is not universally observed even in the most formal writing. It is only a ‘recommendation’, which you may follow or not, as you please.

The comma is exactly what you use to avoid ambiguity.

In the case of your first example, the absence of a comma before which marks the which-clause as restrictive—that is, the sentence refers only to those [files from the inquiry] containing embarrassing material. It is called restrictive because the sentence's reference is restricted or limited to those files identified in the which-clause. Only the files containing embarassing material were destroyed; other files were left untouched.

If you put the comma in, as in your A. example, the which-clause becomes non-restrictive—that is, the sentence refers to all [files from the inquiry], and the which-clause is just an added description of those files. All the files were destroyed, and they all happened to contain embarassing material.

With a non-restrictive clause you cannot use that—you must use which.

With a restrictive clause you may use either that or which. Some style guides (and some editors) claim that a restrictive clause should not use which but only that; but this ‘rule’ is not universally observed even in the most formal writing. It is only a ‘recommendation’, which you may follow or not, as you please.

2 added 181 characters in body
source | link

The comma is exactly what you use to avoid ambiguity.

In the case of your first example, the absence of a comma before which marks the which-clause as restrictive—that is, the sentence refers only to those [files from the inquiry] containing embarrassing material. It is called restrictive because the sentence's reference is restricted or limited to those files identified in the which-clause. Only the files containing embarassing material were destroyed; other files were left untouched.

If you put the comma in, as in your A. example, the which-clause becomes non-restrictive—that is, the sentence refers to *all [files from the inquiry], and the which-clause is just an added description of those files. All the files were destroyed, and they all happened to contain embarassing material.

With a non-restrictive clause you cannot use that—you must use which.

With a restrictive clause you may use either that or which. Some style guides (and some editors) claim that a restrictive clause should not use which but only that; but this ‘rule’ is not universally observed even in the most formal writing. It is only a ‘recommendation’, which you may follow or not, as you please.

The comma is exactly what you use to avoid ambiguity.

In the case of your first example, the absence of a comma before which marks the which-clause as restrictive—that is, the sentence refers only to those [files from the inquiry] containing embarrassing material. It is called restrictive because the sentence's reference is restricted or limited to those files identified in the which-clause.

If you put the comma in, as in your A. example, the which-clause becomes non-restrictive—that is, the sentence refers to *all [files from the inquiry], and the which-clause is just an added description of those files.

With a non-restrictive clause you cannot use that—you must use which.

With a restrictive clause you may use either that or which. Some style guides (and some editors) claim that a restrictive clause should not use which but only that; but this ‘rule’ is not universally observed even in the most formal writing. It is only a ‘recommendation’, which you may follow or not, as you please.

The comma is exactly what you use to avoid ambiguity.

In the case of your first example, the absence of a comma before which marks the which-clause as restrictive—that is, the sentence refers only to those [files from the inquiry] containing embarrassing material. It is called restrictive because the sentence's reference is restricted or limited to those files identified in the which-clause. Only the files containing embarassing material were destroyed; other files were left untouched.

If you put the comma in, as in your A. example, the which-clause becomes non-restrictive—that is, the sentence refers to *all [files from the inquiry], and the which-clause is just an added description of those files. All the files were destroyed, and they all happened to contain embarassing material.

With a non-restrictive clause you cannot use that—you must use which.

With a restrictive clause you may use either that or which. Some style guides (and some editors) claim that a restrictive clause should not use which but only that; but this ‘rule’ is not universally observed even in the most formal writing. It is only a ‘recommendation’, which you may follow or not, as you please.

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source | link

The comma is exactly what you use to avoid ambiguity.

In the case of your first example, the absence of a comma before which marks the which-clause as restrictive—that is, the sentence refers only to those [files from the inquiry] containing embarrassing material. It is called restrictive because the sentence's reference is restricted or limited to those files identified in the which-clause.

If you put the comma in, as in your A. example, the which-clause becomes non-restrictive—that is, the sentence refers to *all [files from the inquiry], and the which-clause is just an added description of those files.

With a non-restrictive clause you cannot use that—you must use which.

With a restrictive clause you may use either that or which. Some style guides (and some editors) claim that a restrictive clause should not use which but only that; but this ‘rule’ is not universally observed even in the most formal writing. It is only a ‘recommendation’, which you may follow or not, as you please.