In an exercise book for college students, the teacher asked the students to combine the following sentence using a relative pronoun:

Shakespeare was a famous writer. He wrote great plays.

The teacher's answer was as follows:

Shakespeare was a famous writer who wrote great plays.

lsn't it better to combine the sentence as follows?

Shakespeare, who wrote great plays, was a famous writer.


I think both sentences are technically acceptable, but people will no doubt have different opinions about which sentence is correct.

I think that if the reader doesn't know who or what Shakespeare is then your teacher's first choice is best because the reader will probably want to know that Shakespeare was a writer (first).

The clause then goes on to add more information i.e. it functions as an adjective clause which is what a relative clause is.

  • I agree with the teacher's construction. I think consigning Shakespeare's playwriting to an appositive seems to relegate his playwriting genius to a throw-in. The most important point is carried in the main phrase, and all that does is tell the reader that Shakespeare was a famous writer. To me the fact that he wrote great plays is in the main clause, and the fact that he was a famous writer should take second place in the relative subordinate clause, I also prefer the form of a relative clause to a mere appositive in this example
    – Allen S.
    Dec 26 '17 at 2:08

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