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General Writing and Grammar Help/Punctuating adjective clauses

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Question
Dear Ted

Hope you are fine!

This time I am not going to mark my question as private because I am sure other ESL learners will benefit from your answer.

Which choice is correct? Please do explain your reasons.

A) I have fond memories of my hometown which is situated in a valley.

B) I have fond memories of my hometown , which is situated in a valley.

NEXT QUESTION: which choice is correct? Please explain your reasons.

A) I live in a town which is situated in a valley.

B) I live in a town, which is situated in a valley.

Next QUESTION: which choice is correct? Please explain your reasons.

A) A river which is polluted is not safe for swimming.

B) A river, which is polluted, is not safe for swimming.

Thank you, Ted. Needless to say, I have chosen these questions from my grammar book, "Understanding And Using English Grammar."

Best
Hame

Answer
Dear Hame:

I wish that you would not send me "public" questions.  There are two reasons:  (1) People do not usually browse through answers posted on the internet; they tend to ask their own questions rather than read the answers to someone else's questions.  (2) The most important reason is that there are people -- a few, but enough to be a real headache -- who actually DO browse the internet in order to find something to challenge or argue about.  Other volunteers and I have received angry responses from people who just "found" our answers and wanted to fight with us.  In one category, there were six of us who volunteered.  I think that there are now just two, because the others dropped out after receiving inappropriate e-mails from people who don't even use Allexperts.  In my 11+ years of volunteering, I have received about 20 of these messages, which, incidentally, are illiterate and extremely difficult to understand.  One person send me a "challenge," saying that I was wrong.  He used obscene language and made threats to me.  I reported the incident to the managers of Allexperts, and they blocked him from using their site.

*********

This time I am not going to mark my question as private because I am sure other ESL learners will benefit from your answer.

Which choice is correct? Please do explain your reasons.

A) I have fond memories of my hometown which is situated in a valley.

B) I have fond memories of my hometown , which is situated in a valley.

*** B is correct.  The information about the valley is not essential.

NEXT QUESTION: which choice is correct? Please explain your reasons.

A) I live in a town which is situated in a valley.

B) I live in a town, which is situated in a valley.

*** B is correct for the same reason as #1.  However, some people would argue that, since you are not talking about a specific town [as you did in the first example, using HOMEtown], the adjective clause, "which is situation in a valley," is not only useful information, but also necessary information.

Next QUESTION: which choice is correct? Please explain your reasons.

A) A river which is polluted is not safe for swimming.

B) A river, which is polluted, is not safe for swimming.

*** A is definitely correct.  If you use B, you can remove the "parenthetical" words "which is polluted," and the sentence will make sense.  "A river is not safe for swimming," however, DOES NOT make sense.    Sentence A specifies WHAT KIND of river is unsafe.

Ted

Thank you, Ted. Needless to say, I have chosen these questions from my grammar book, "Understanding And Using English Grammar."

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Ted Nesbitt

Expertise

I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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