When there is an embedded clause, is the relative pronoun after it always restrictive?

Or, can it be used as a descriptive relative pronoun?

For example, is which in the passage used as a descriptive relative pronoun, which can be replaced with that?

Relativity works as a general mechanism for the mind, in many ways and across many different areas of life. For example, Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating, showed that it can also affect our waistlines. We decide how much to eat not simply as a function of how much food we actually consume, but by a comparison to its alternatives. Say we have to choose between three burgers on a menu, at 8, 10, and 12 ounces. We are likely to pick the 10­ounce burger and be perfectly satisfied at the end of the meal. But if our options are instead 10, 12, and 14 ounces, we are likely again to choose the middle one, and again feel equally happy and satisfied with the 12­ounce burger at the end of the meal, even though we ate more, which we did not need in order to get our daily nourishment or in order to feel full.

Small Change: Money Mishaps and How to Avoid Them

  • "Which we did not need in order to get our daily nourishment or in order to feel full" is non-restrictive, so "which" cannot be replaced by "that". Which" has "more " as antecedent: "we did not need more".
    – BillJ
    Aug 6, 2022 at 8:46
  • This question should include more details than have been provided here. Please edit to add the research you have done in your efforts to answer the question. See: Details, Please. Aug 6, 2022 at 9:43
  • What @BillJ said. In the exact text as cited, which (non-restrictively) refers to the fact of us eating more, so it can't be replaced by that. But note that if we simply add an explicit noun such as food after more, this makes it possible to (optionally) apply different syntactic parsing to the utterance, such that the final clause is restrictive (we ate some food that we didn't need, in addition to perhaps eating some food that we did need). Aug 6, 2022 at 11:42


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