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My friend who is not a native english speaker has two little siblings that need help on their homework. The point of the homework is determining nonessential vs essential expressions.

I believe there are five nonessential (indicated by the 5 lines in exercise two) and believe that they are: 1,3,4,8,9.

In addition, what is a good way to determine if it is a nonessential clause? At first I attempted to take out the underlined portion and see if the sentence still makes sense, but most if not all sentences still work after taking out the underlined portion. I then thought perhaps adding commas at the end and beginning of the underlined portion would help, but it also fails. Is there a good general way to determine if a portion of text is nonessential?

After looking at this link http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/essentialclause.htm It does state that essential clauses limit general ambiguous nouns. While it helps me, I was wondering if there was perhaps a easier way to discern the difference. I say this because I hope to teach my friends siblings the ability to tell the difference, not just give them the right answers.

Are my answers right? What is a good easy way to explain to new english learners the difference between nonessential and essential elements?

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closed as too broad by P. E. Dant, Glorfindel, Chenmunka, user5267, Varun Nair Sep 19 '16 at 5:31

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I'm voting to close this as off-topic because it comprises too many questions. – P. E. Dant Sep 18 '16 at 7:26
  • An essential clause contains information that is needed to identify an item in the main clause: "I paid the man who is standing over there". Yes, that man. A non-essential clause provides additional information about an item that is already identified in the man clause or by context. "I paid the man who thanked me for the money." Wasn't it nice of him to thank me? – JavaLatte Sep 18 '16 at 9:34
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Your five sentences with "nonessential clauses" (1,3,4,8,9) are correct.

The answer to your question of how to determine the "nonessential clauses" is to remove any clauses you see in a sentence and see if the meaning of the sentence is changed to a marked degree.

Removing "nonessential clauses" in the questions you list won't make any of those sentences into bad or nonsense English sentences, but removing some parts will change the meaning of those sentences more than other parts.

The problem with this concept of trying to remove "nonessential" parts of a sentence is that removing or changing any part of a sentence will almost always change the meaning of that sentence, it's just a matter of the degree of change. So asking someone to decide if a sentence has changed "enough" in meaning to cross some arbitrary line is probably not a good way of teaching English.

Below, I deconstruct each sentence in your example to it's basic meaning. At which point the sentences change meaning 'enough' is up to the reader (or speaker).

Billy Waters the six year old plays in the yard.
Billy waters plays in the yard.
Billy Waters plays.
Billy plays.

'Sing down the moon', which is about a Navaho girl, was written by Scott O'Dell.
'Sing Down The Moon' was written by Scott O'Dell.
'Sing Down The Moon' was written.

Someone that I met at your party once lived in Ireland.
Someone that I met once lived in Ireland.
Someone once lived in Ireland.
Someone once lived.
Someone lived.

Alana, whose father is an archaeologist, has traveled to Egypt.
Alana has traveled to Egypt.
Alana has traveled.

Adam, a friend of mine from camp, will be visiting me next week.
Adam will be visiting me next week.
Adam will be visiting me.
Adam will be visiting.
Adam will be.

Mrs. Parsons is the teacher whom most of us have for science.
Mrs. Parsons is the teacher whom most of us have.
Mrs. Parsons is the teacher.
Mrs. Parsons is.

The man who won the state lottery gave most of his money to charity.
The man gave most of his money to charity.
The man gave money to charity.
The man gave money.
The man gave.

Jeff noticed a car leaving the scene of the accident.
Jeff noticed a car leaving the scene.
Jeff noticed a car.
Jeff noticed.

The police, keeping well out of sight, followed the suspect for two miles.
The police followed the suspect for two miles.
The police followed the suspect.
The police followed.

The captain of the basketball team, who is also an A student, won a full scholarship.
The captain of the basketball team won a full scholarship.
The captain of the basketball team won a scholarship.
The captain of the basketball team won.
The captain won.

The student who won the scholarship is my brother.
The student who won is my brother.
The student is my brother.
The student is.

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