TIL: You need a comma before which and another one at the end of the nonrestrictive phrase; for example:

Jeff’s new car, which is less than a month old, already started leaking oil.

And I learned that we can omit "which is" or "which" in the following sentences.

  • This dog which/that is following us is very big.

    This dog following us is very big.

  • This dog, which has 4 legs, is mine.

    This dog having 4 legs is mine.

My question is: Do we need commas for the last sentence?

Since "having 4 legs" is a nonrestrictive phrase.

This dog, having 4 legs, is mine.

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a cross post of the identical question at ELL. One or the other should be removed. Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 18:00

1 Answer 1


A couple of remarks:

  1. "[noun] having 4 legs" is not actually a normal way of putting this. "[noun] with four legs" is more usual.

  2. So-called "restrictive" relative clauses actually often don't function to restrict what is being referred to. It's a bit of a misnomer, so some linguists prefer to call them "integrated relative clauses". It's fine to use an integrated relative clause in this kind of context.

  • I thought restrictive, or integrated, relative clauses were the same thing: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – hbtpoprock
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 12:59
  • @hbtpoprock: They are the same thing, but the name "restrictive" may be misleading because you can use "restrictive" relative clauses in situations where the referent can't logically be restricted any further. The section "Integrated clauses that are not restrictive" on that page discusses this.
    – herisson
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 13:04
  • I tried to understand the wiki page, but I can't really separate them. Can you tell me which of my sentences is integrated clauses but not restrictive please? Btw does "this dog having 4 legs is mine." need commas?
    – hbtpoprock
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 13:42

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