1. He has two sons who are doctors,
  2. He has two sons, who are doctors

My professor taught us about that “,” She said that the location of “,” changes the meaning of sentence. What’s the difference between those sentences?

  • Don't think of it as a piece of written text. Think of it as spoken - with no pauses at all in the first one, but a significant pause after sons in the second. That's how native speakers learn to distinguish the two meanings, long before they know what a comma is. Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 3:01

2 Answers 2


#1 means he may have other sons. The relative clause is a defining one. Another sentence may follow:

He has two other sons who are engineers.

#2 means he has no other sons. The relative clause is a non-defining one, and we can delete it without significantly changing the meaning of the sentence:

He has two sons.

  • Thank you so much! It helped a lot <3
    – 백서연
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 9:58

They can be paraphrased thus:
1’. Two of his sons are doctors.
2’. He has two sons, and both of them are doctors.

  • Thank you so much!
    – 백서연
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 9:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .