element" I mean items such as transitional words, direct address,
or others that you could take out and not change a
already familiar with such elements, sometimes called "non-essential"
Again, for our purposes, an "NRE" is any element
that is unessential
to the basic meaning of the sentence.
haven't realized before is that non-restrictive elements are a lot like
elements--they add extra information--but they come in the middle or at
end of a sentence rather than at the beginning. Also like
elements, they can be a single word, like a transition.
problem with the furniture, however, is that it's
the word however acts
as a non-restrictive element. The term "non-restrictive" refers to
that do not "restrict" the meaning of the sentence. More specifically,
generally do not change the meaning of the subject:
poem, written in some language I couldn't understand, made me want to
my book away.
with introductory elements,
the trick to recognizing non-restrictive elements is to find the
sentence's main idea. In this case, it's
poem... made me want to throw my book away.
in a language I couldn't
understand" is a non-restrictive element because it
merely gives us
more information without "restricting" the meaning of the sentence's
can I tell whethen element is restrictive or non-restrictive?
Here's an opportunity to see how commas can be used to help your reader
your meaning. Restrictive elements, as you've
probably guessed by
now, restrict the meaning of a sentence. Consider
how the presence
of commas can change the meaning of a sentence.
people who don't shower often have few friends.
yourself about the meaning
of this sentence. As the sentence is punctuated now, which
have few friends?
ones who don't shower. The clause isn't set off with commas;
it restricts the meaning of "lonely people" to ONLY those who don't
see what happens
if commas are placed around the clause. What does this sentence mean?
lonely people have few friends?
who don't shower, often have few friends.
sentence proclaims that ALL lonely people have few
friends (it also implies that none
of them showers, a grim thought indeed). In other words,
around the clause "who don't shower" makes it non-restrictive.
That means it doesn't restrict the meaning of the subject, "lonely
The fact that they don't shower is just extra information.
drive drunk, should never be re-elected.
presidents does this sentence
say should never be re-elected? All of them. The
commas mean that
the clause "who drive drunk" is non-essential information and that it
not restrict your re-election policy.
if we remove
the commas, we restrict the meaning of "Presidents" to ONLY those who
drive drunk should never be re-elected.
Intro, Get Started, IE, CE,