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I read a sentence in an English Textbook.I think the sentence is incorrect. Does it need to use a comma after the word 'the student'? Please explain it to me.

She is the student, whose handwriting is the best in my class.

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No, it does not. The comma should not be in the sentence.

This sentence uses a restrictive relative clause. It is called "restrictive" because it is restricted to or limited to the noun that meets the criteria outlined in the clause.

To put it simply: the class has many students. However, there is only one student who has the best handwriting, so the clause is restricted to this one student.

Now, since this is a restrictive relative clause, it cannot be separated by a comma. The sentence should read

She is the student whose handwriting is the best in my class.

where the relative clause is marked in italics.


Just for reference, there is another type of relative clause, called a nonrestrictive relative clause, that is separated by commas. This is because it adds extra information to the sentence, and can be removed from the sentence because it's already clear who/what is being referred to. For example:

Alice, whose handwriting is the best in my class, is my friend.

Alice is my friend.

Assuming that the speaker has only one friend named Alice, it is clear that Alice is being referred to. If we were to remove the relative clause from your sentence, however, this would be problematic:

She is the student whose handwriting is the best in my class.

She is the student.

In the sentence that follows, it is unclear who "she" refers to: this shows why this is a restrictive relative clause.

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