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Am I correctly understanding the difference between "which" and "that" below?

Delete all the newly-created lines that are not needed.

According to my understanding, the speaker in the sentence above wants only the not-needed lines to be deleted.

Delete all the newly-created lines, which are not needed.

According to my understanding, the speaker in the sentence above wants all newly-created lines to be deleted and just adds some info about them - states that they are not needed.

Is my understanding wrong?

  • You can normally use which in the first sentence as well. – userr2684291 Jun 17 '18 at 10:33
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Your understanding is correct.

The first example is a defining (also known as a restrictive or essential) clause.

The request is for the deletion of only those lines that are not needed.

Without the addition of this clause the sentence has a completely different meaning. So it is essential to the meaning of the sentence.

The second example is a non-defining clause. It simply adds non-essential information to the main clause. The request is for the deletion of all lines and it adds the reason, because they're not needed.

There are numerous explanations and examples of these differences on the internet if you wished to follow up.

[https://www.grammarly.com/blog/which-vs-that/]

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