In my native language, it's common to call a tool's property and then reiterate it's function in successive. Example:

"Kita memiliki membran pelindung yang melindungi otak dari zat kimia."

Which translates to:

"We have protective membrane that protects the brain from chemical substance."

But for me, I don't know why, but the phrase "protective membrane that protects" is bothering me. I feel like I rarely heard that form of phrase, just like all of these phrases below:

  • Enhancer substance that enhances.
  • Burning sensation that burns
  • Delivery service that delivers

And btw, "protective membrane that shields" sounds a little bit better, but I still feel that something is missing, something is off, like there's part of that repetition that we can omit, because, well, it's repetitive in the context. People know that protective membrane protects/shields, and delivery service delivers. I just don't know how to put it in sentence. Or maybe this is a common usage in the daily English language and I just don't know or think too much?

  • 1
    Since you state that the membrane protects then why not just say: We have a membrane that protects the brain.........
    – user242899
    Feb 20, 2018 at 1:10
  • @user242899 that is actually a very good idea! I guess I'm still too hooked on my native language style which gives me the urge to put the "protective" attribute to explain or name (identify) the membrane. Feb 20, 2018 at 2:08

1 Answer 1


In English, a relative clause is an identifier or modifier. A membrane that protects is a protective membrane. A "protective membrane that protects" is not good style in English because it is redundant. Your intuition about English style is good in this respect.

  • Oh okay, now I can see the difference. I guess if I'm going to say "membrane that protects", I can omit the "protective" identifier. Or if I'm going to say "protective membrane of the brain", I can omit the "that protects". Thank you very much! Feb 20, 2018 at 2:10
  • 1
    There you go. Note that this is not an issue of grammar, but of usage or style. Feb 20, 2018 at 2:18

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