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As far as l know, it is usual to use a comma after a modified noun followed by a non-restrictive relative clause as follows:

The new AIDS treatment, which proved to be highly effective, is extremely expensive.

My question is: Are there special cases that we might ignore using the comma in constructions as the one mentioned above.

  • It's the comma that marks the relative clause as supplementary (non-restrictive). Removing it would make it an integrated (restrictive) relative. You, Mido Mido, have to decide which semantic type of relative it is before deciding whether or not to use a comma. – BillJ Dec 31 '17 at 18:50
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To a careful reader, your example, with a pair of commas, is a non-defining relative clause. Consequently, it can be removed and the sentence would both still remain grammatically correct and its meaning wouldn't change.

If a sentence contains an adjective clause introduced by the relativizer which, a careful writer would firstly determine whether the subordinate adjective clause is defining or non-defining and would use commas or not accordingly.

The use of the relativizer that is different. Usually we don't use a comma before it.

  • Yes, the writer must decide whether the relative is semantically integrated or supplementary in order to decide whether or not to use a comma. Btw, it is extremely rare to find a supplementary relative with that. In fact they are only marginally acceptable in Standard English. – BillJ Dec 31 '17 at 18:59
  • @Bill J ls there a difference between"The red car which you chose was sold" and " The red car, which you chose, was sold"? – Mido Mido Dec 31 '17 at 20:13
  • @MidoMido Yes, If there was more than red one car and you chose one of them, then the restrictive relative clause is required - the kind without a comma. But if there was only one red car, then the clause is non-restrictive and a comma is required. The relative clause in this case simply adds useful, but non-essential information. – BillJ Jan 1 '18 at 7:41

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