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Which Sentence Contains a Restrictive Clause?


It’s important to know how sentences are combined in English writing to communicate well. One key part of making sentences is using restrictive clauses. These clauses are important because they help narrow down the most important information in a sentence, making it clearer and more meaningful. Let’s discuss this in detail.

What Is Restrictive Clause

It is also known as defining or essential clauses, which are groups of words essential to a sentence’s meaning. They provide crucial information about the noun or noun phrase they modify, helping to distinguish it from other similar elements in the sentence.


Identifying restrictive clauses requires an understanding of their defining characteristics. Unlike non-restrictive clauses, which provide additional, non-essential information, restrictive clauses are necessary for the sentence’s meaning. They do not require commas for separation and cannot be omitted without altering the intended message of the sentence.


It typically consists of a relative pronoun (such as “who,” “whom,” “which,” or “that”) followed by a subject and a verb. This structure integrates the clause seamlessly into the sentence, establishing a direct relationship with the noun it modifies.

Restrictive Clause Examples

Here are some examples of clauses mentioned by the Book Writing Bureau:

The book that I borrowed from the library is overdue.

In this sentence, the clause “that I borrowed from the library” specifies which book is being referred to. Without this clause, the sentence would simply state, “The book is overdue,” lacking essential information.

Sheila is the student who scored the highest marks in the exam.

Here, the clause “who scored the highest marks in the exam” identifies Sheila as the student being discussed. It is necessary to understand which student achieved the highest marks.

The car that was parked illegally was towed away by the authorities.

In this example, the clause “that was parked illegally” clarifies which car was towed away. Without this clause, the sentence would not specify why the car was towed.

Those who arrive late will not be admitted to the event.

The “who arrives late” defines the group of individuals who will not be admitted to the event. It is essential to understand the conditions imposed on attendees.

I need the file that contains the important documents.

In this sentence, the clause “that contains the important documents” indicates which file is needed. Without this clause, the sentence would lack specificity regarding the required file.

The company hired candidates who demonstrated exceptional skills.

Here, the clause “who demonstrated exceptional skills” specifies the type of candidates hired by the company. It is crucial to understand the criteria used in the hiring process.

Placement of Clauses

It can appear in different sentence spots, depending on what’s being emphasized or talked about. They can come before or after the noun they’re describing. This helps make sentences flexible while still keeping them clear and exact.


The primary function of restrictive clauses is to narrow down or define the meaning of a noun or phrase in a sentence. By specifying essential details, restrictive clauses help eliminate ambiguity and ensure the intended message is conveyed accurately.

In the sentence “I enjoy reading books that challenge my perspective,” the restrictive clause “that challenge my perspective” clarifies the type of books referred to, enhancing the reader’s understanding.

Common Mistakes

One common mistake in using these clauses is failing to recognize their necessity in the sentence. This can lead to ambiguity or confusion regarding the intended meaning. Additionally, improper punctuation, such as using commas to set off restrictive clauses, can alter the clause’s function and disrupt the sentence’s structure.


Mastering restrictive clauses is essential for clear and effective communication in English. By understanding their structure, function, and proper usage, writers can enhance the precision and clarity of their writing, ultimately improving the reader’s comprehension.

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