Should I put any commas here?

Paint the fence that's red green.

(meaning "Paint the red fence with green paint.")

Move the wheelbarrow that's on the stairs below the stairs.

(Could be shortened to "Move the wheelbarrow on the stairs below the stairs."

  • Unless you want to confuse your listener/reader, you should rewrite the sentences to make your meaning clear. Paint the red fence green is so much easier to follow. Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 23:55
  • 1
    @Ronald. True but doesn't really answer the question.
    – zooby
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 1:11
  • The canonical may be Use of commas before "that". Commented Sep 17, 2022 at 10:34

1 Answer 1


'That' is used with what are called restrictive clauses, meaning 'that's red' is necessary to identify which fence. Commas are not used to set off these clauses.

Use who or which with non-restrictive clauses, where the info in the clause is NOT needed to identify which person or thing you're talking about. In this example you know which fence without the clause.

paint John's fence, which is now red, green.

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