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I have to answer the following question:

He kicked at my door, which was totally unacceptable
a) There are two adverbials
b) The relative clause is sentential
c) The relative clause is non-restrictive
d) Door is the antecedent

The answer sheet suggests that a) and b) are the correct answers but I wonder why c) isn't correct.

2 Answers 2

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He kicked at my door, which was totally unacceptable.

We don’t talk of 'sentential relative clauses', since that suggests the relative clause is a sentence, which it isn’t.

What we have here is a relative clause with a clause as antecedent – a possibility that is found only with the supplementary (non-restrictive) type.

The preposition phrase "at my door" is an adjunct, and "totally" is an adverb modifying "unacceptable".

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  • Thank you but this assignment was created by my lecturer, so he talks about sentential RCs. Unfortunately, I have to deal with the possible answers given! Aug 2, 2022 at 12:36
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    @alinavethacke So you have my full support in telling your lecturer that he is wrong!
    – BillJ
    Aug 2, 2022 at 12:39
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If the relative clause is "sentential" then it refers to the whole action. This relative clause doesn't describe or identify the door, so it shouldn't be considered a non-restrictive, nor a restrictive modification of the noun door.

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  • That helps a lot, thank you! Is it possible to state that a relative clause is either sentential or restrictive, or non-restrictive? Aug 1, 2022 at 9:47
  • Yes, but these are not grammatical categories. They are descriptions of the meaning of the clause, and meanings are always fuzzy and context dependent.
    – James K
    Aug 1, 2022 at 10:09
  • Thank you so much! Aug 1, 2022 at 10:57

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