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I am wondering whether to use a restrictive relative clause such as:

"Multicopters belong to a family of aircraft called rotorcraft , which also includes helicopters, and although they appear to be similar, a multicopter's design is mechanically much simpler."

or non-restrictive relative clause:

"Multicopters belong to a family of aircraft called rotorcraft that also includes helicopters, and although they appear to be similar, a multicopter's design is mechanically much simpler."

I am leaning toward the latter because the second half of the complete sentence relies on the inclusion of the statement "also includes helicopters" for its meaning. However, the first part of the sentence ("multicopters belong to a family of rotorcraft") makes sense by itself (i.e. it could be a complete sentence), and the second part of the sentence is really another statement attached with "and". So I'm not sure.

Would it be better as two separate sentences:

"Multicopters belong to a family of aircraft called rotorcraft, which also includes helicopters; although they appear to be similar, a multicopter's design is mechanically much simpler."

Side-note: Now I'm going crazy, wondering whether it should be "include" or "includes". This is why it takes me so long to write anything. sigh

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    I just inadvertently semi-answered this on your other question, but I would change the structure entirely. Whether you have a restrictive or a non-restrictive relative clause here, “they” in the following subordinate clause appears to refer back to “multicopters” alone, rather than “multicopters and helicopters”, since the two nouns appear in such different circumstances in the sentence. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 5 '13 at 16:51
  • Oh, and as a side note: If you really wanted to please the classicists and linguaphiles out there, it might be wiser to call them multirotors instead of multicopters: ‘multirotor’ is Latin + Latin and perfectly fine, whereas ‘multicopter’ is Latin prefix + half-chopped-up Greek word + Greek word, which may cause some raised eyebrows. ‘Polypter’ (or even more fancifully, ‘polelicopter’) would probably also meet with scholarly approval, but I fear also utterly incomprehensible to your target audience; so that’s probably best avoided. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 5 '13 at 16:55
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1- Keep you last formulation, it is the best (no ambiguity, two ideas and two sentences) :

"Multicopters belong to a family of aircraft called rotorcraft, which also includes helicopters; although they appear to be similar, a multicopter's design is mechanically much simpler."

2- Too bad for the pseudo-purists forbidding to mix Latin and Greek roots, as if English were not already a mixture of these two languages, and many more ; by the way, a motor-car is an "automobile" in The States (and in France), and craft is neither Latin nor Greek.

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