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I've been reading that English does not permit clauses without a subject (except imperative sentences and infinitive verbs, right?). So I don't understand phenomena such as:

  • We've updated our Privacy Policy which will go into effect in September.

What am I missing??

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    Which is a pronoun referring to the updated Privacy Policy. It is the subject of the bolded part of your sentence. Commented Oct 24, 2022 at 18:42
  • Right. Which will go into effect in September is a relative clause modifying policy, and the relative pronoun which is the subject of that relative clause. But lots of subject and other words do get lost, like Ever been to Barcelona? Commented Oct 24, 2022 at 18:59
  • Do search for "relative clause" to learn more
    – gotube
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 6:54

2 Answers 2

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Yes, a clause generally consists of a subject and a predicate. Sometimes the subject can be omitted. E.g.:

Alice taught English for five years.
I couldn't hear you. What did Alice do?
Taught English for five years.

Sometimes the predicate can be omitted. E.g.:

Who taught English for five years?
Alice.

However, in your example neither is omitted. You've highlighted the predicate. Its subject is the pronoun "which" (as Weather Vane noted in a comment above). In this case, "which" is a relative pronoun and refers to "our privacy policy".

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  • Sorry to be pedantic, but the antecedent of "which" is just "privacy policy". Determiners like "our" are not part of an antecedent.
    – BillJ
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 8:04
  • @BillJ I normally consider a determiner to be part of a nominal phrase. Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 18:40
  • Not to worry. Grammarians consider the nominal to be an NP less the determiner (if present), e.g in the NP "A [young boy]" the bracketed bit is the nominal. Sometimes called n1 in parsing diagrams.
    – BillJ
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 11:20
  • @BillJ And, as I'm sure you know, other grammarians consider NPs to include determiners. Both ways are acceptable. Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 18:47
  • Yes, NPs do of course include determiners. But a nominal is not an NP: it's the bit intermediate between the NP and the head noun, So the example "A young boy" is indeed an NP in which "young boy" is the nominal. Is that clearer?
    – BillJ
    Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 7:28
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We've updated our Privacy Policy. It will go into effect in September.

'We've updated our Privacy Policy which will go into effect in September.'

'Which' joins the two clauses together. 'Which' is the subject of the second clause. We use 'which' in the same way as 'it'. 'Which' is a relative pronoun. It can also be an object of a clause.

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