Nonessential Elements and Parenthetical Phrases

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I N T RO D U C I N G :
N O N - R E S T R I C T I V E C L AU S E S
AND
PA R E N T H E T I C A L P H R A S E S
LEARNING TARGETS:
 I can define nonrestrictive elements (extra information that is added and does not affect the
meaning of the sentence, e.g., Mrs. Jones, my teacher, assigned homework.) and restrictive elements
(extra information that is added and does affect the meaning of the sentence, e.g., Mrs. Jones who
had a heart attack left in an ambulance.).
 I can define parenthetical elements (interrupters, e.g., at any rate, in my opinion, nevertheless).
 I can enclose nonrestrictive and parenthetical elements with commas to separate these
elements from the rest of the sentence.
 I can recognize that nonrestrictive elements and parenthetical elements can also be set apart
from the sentence using parentheses and dashes (parentheses reduce the importance; dashes
increase the importance).
PARENTHETICAL
PHRASES/EXPRESSIONS:
• These are ‘afterthought’ words that interrupt
the sentence.
• Commas, Dashes, or Parentheses are used
to ‘set off ’ the phrase (basically surround the
phrase).
PARENTHETICAL PHRASES
• Common ‘afterthought’ words/phrases:
• For example
Of course
• However
On the other hand
• Moreover
Therefore
• To be sure
Perhaps
• As a matter of fact
PARENTHETICAL PHRASES
Examples:
• She, of course, has no sympathy for me.
• Mrs. Mason, on the other hand, has no clue what I’m
thinking.
• Computers can, for example, teach people how to play the
trumpet.
• Otis decided, in fact, to leave school.
• The truth, however, was hard to discover.
NONRESTRICTIVE CLAUSES
• These are words or phrases that are not necessary to
the meaning of a sentence.
• You could delete the phrase (clause) and the sentence
would still make sense.
• Put commas, dashes, or parentheses on both sides
of a nonrestrictive clause when it falls in the middle of
a sentence.
• (These types of phrases are referred to as appositives,
when the word or phrase renames or clarifies a noun.)
COMMAS IN NONRESTRICTIVE
C L AU S E S
 Examples:
• Mrs. Moore, who loves to drink water, reads The Hunger
Games the best.
• Our usable water supply, which comes from surface water or
groundwater, makes up only one percent of the total water
available.
• The ferret, which is a cousin of the weasel, can make a good
pet.
• Sophie, the lady with ten cats, bought a new truck.
• This lamp, which we bought yesterday, is defective.
ASK YOURSELF…
Do you need the information?
• Example:
• Nikki and Amanda, who are twins, are
strong swimmers.
* Do you need the underlined part to understand the
sentence’s meaning?
ASK YOURSELF…
Their mother, who never learned to swim
herself, had them take swimming lessons
when they were young.
The program that she took them to starts
teaching children at six months.
WARNING!!!!!
 Commas only surround NONESSENTIAL (nonrestrictive)
information (clauses/phrases).
Which sentence should contain commas?
• Langston Hughes who was a key figure in the Harlem
Renaissance often used the rhythms of jazz in his
poetry.
• Actors missing more than two rehearsals will be
replaced.
WARNING!!!
 Which sentence should contain commas?
• My husky who died last year was
fourteen.
• My husky who had blue eyes had
heart problems.
LET’S TRY SOME…
 The athletes who I most admire are
swimmers.
 Swimming which requires strength and
stamina is a challenging sport.
LET’S TRY SOME…
 A swimmer who wishes to participate in
serious swimming competitions must practice
constantly.
 Our women’s team whose record stands
enters the pool area.
LET’S TRY SOME…
The contestants who are wearing special racing
suits will swim eight lengths of the pool in
the first heat.
YOUR TURN!!
Josh fortunately is nothing like his brother.
Our leading advocate of clean streets you
understand is Mayor Phillips.
YOUR TURN!!!
Glen unlike Milton is musically gifted.
Alyssa told a fascinating but not believable
story.
YOUR TURN!!
Brady decided nonetheless not to buy the car.
Mac’s cat that was watching the dog intently
walked carefully away.
YOUR TURN!!!
TV commercials sometimes the most entertaining
parts of a program are essentially flashy corporate
propaganda. (Makayla)
The Mississippi River which once flowed north into
Hudson Bay flows south into the Gulf of Mexico.
(Preston W.)
YOUR TURN!!!
Mr. Andrews who served the salad did not
notice the caterpillar nibbling a lettuce leaf.
The ancient Buick which Treasure purchased
from a newspaper ad belches black smoke
whenever she accelerates.
YOUR TURN!!!
Ms. Saylor the lady with the British accent
teaches gym at the local high school.
Taylia who was desperately trying to save
money stopped eating out.
YOUR TURN!!!
Bri of course refused to come with us.
President Cheesestick knowing the need for
drastic action declared the entire state a
disaster area.
YOUR TURN!!!
Dalton’s mother a woman with no sense of
fear is a professional bomb tester.
Amanda the CFO of her company reads spy
novels by the bucketful.
YOUR TURN!!!
Brooke’s youngest brother who’s a freshman
doesn’t know how to swim.
James hoped to contact the President who
had no personal cellphone about opening an
account for his family.
YOUR TURN!!!
Reagan is as you can probably tell pretty
nervous about public speaking.
Once upon a time before television and
computers Colby read books for fun.
YOUR TURN!!!
Reusable shopping bags relatively unknown
two years ago have exploded in popularity
since the “green” movement became
fashionable. ( Preston A.)
YOUR TURN!!!
The meet which began late ended well after
dark.

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