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The 1940s are known for its art, which reflected the agony of the human condition.
The 1940s are known for its art reflecting the agony of the human condition.

Please help me understand the difference between the two sentences.

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    The sentences should really say "known for their art". "1940s" is plural, and you correctly use "The 1940s are" so the possessive would be "their art". – stangdon Jul 19 '18 at 21:11
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There is a difference in the meaning of the two sentences because of the use of the comma. The first sentence refers to the art of the 1940s and, because of the comma, claims that all of that art reflected the agony et cetera.

The second sentence makes the slightly different claim that the 1940s are known for those parts of art in those times reflected the agony et cetera.

In sentence 1 all 1940s art reflected ...

In sentence 2 there was all kinds of art in the 1940s but the art for which that decade is known was that art which reflected ...

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They say approximately the same thing, but use different mechanisms.

which reflected the agony of the human condition

is a relative (adjectival) clause in which, "which," [sorry about the redundancy] is a pronoun referring back to "art".

reflecting the agony of the human condition.

is a participle phrase, functioning as an adjective.

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  • but strangely, when I write the sentence: The 1940s are known for its art reflecting the agony of the human condition, a blue line comes below the word "art". I am using Microsoft Word. Is the correct sentence: The 1940s are known for its art, reflecting the agony of the human condition. [comma before reflecting]. help. – Arkaprava Bose Jul 23 '18 at 15:27

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