I have seen a few restrictive and non-restrictive clauses with no ‘that’ and ‘which’ respectively. For example:

  • It’s a car I bought last year.
  • The pen I bought today.

To me, the sentences should be structured as follows:

  • It’s a car that I bought last year.
  • The pen, which I bought today.

Kindly let me know which amongst the above sentences are acceptable, grammatically.

Thank you.


  • The one about the pen isn't a sentence; it needs a main verb. Are you asking about punctuation? There are a lot of questions about this already, but it's hard to point you to the most relevant. Maybe english.stackexchange.com/questions/93924/comma-before-which
    – Stuart F
    Commented May 7, 2021 at 10:01
  • I think the following sentences on pen are acceptable: The pen, which I bought yesterday, is not working (non-restrictive). A pen that I bought yesterday is not working (restrictive).
    – Kumar
    Commented May 7, 2021 at 13:36

1 Answer 1

  1. It’s a car I bought last year.
  1. It’s a car that I bought last year.

As commented, both examples on the pen are not sentences as their main verbs are missing.

We address your query on the omission of relative pronouns.

In informal styles, we could omit object relative pronouns in defining relative clauses.

Example 3 is fine. Example 1 has a defining relative clause, and hence its object relative pronoun could be omitted, for informal style.

In informal styles, we often leave out the relative pronoun. We only do this in defining relative clauses, and when the relative pronoun is the object of the verb. We don’t leave out the relative pronoun when it is the subject of the verb nor in non-defining relative clauses.

Cambridge Dictionary


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