1. WritingNoob

    WritingNoob New Member

    Feb 3, 2010
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    Should I use a ',' comma in these situations?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by WritingNoob, Mar 6, 2010.

    Hey guys, does anyone know if I should a comma when I use the word 'which'. For example: "I was playing basketball earlier at the courts earlier, which are located 10 minutes away." ?

    Any other help with commas would be appreciated.

  2. Humour Whiffet

    Humour Whiffet Banned

    Sep 20, 2009
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    United Kingdom
    You need to do a Google search for “which v. that.” You’ll learn all about restrictive relative clauses and non-restrictive relative clauses.

    If your readers already know what you mean by “the courts” (in other words, they already know the location of the courts) then you should use a comma followed by which. The reason is that the courts don’t need any further defining. Your readers could find “the courts” without being told that you are referring to the courts that are ten minutes away.

    On the other hand, if there are lots of potential courts to which you may be referring, you would omit the comma and say that rather than which. The reason is that you are restricting/defining “the courts” as the ones that are ten minutes away. This is important if your readers don’t know what is meant by “the courts.” If you said to them, “Hey, I’ll meet you’ll meet at the courts,” they wouldn’t know which courts. You are, therefore, defining/ restricting “the courts” to the ones that are ten minutes away.

    The above should make sense following your Google search.

    In brief:

    which = non-restrictive

    that= restrictive

    Never use that to introduce a non-restrictive clause.

    In British English you may use which to introduce a restrictive clause.
  3. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    sentence itself is a muddle, with that 'earlier' interrupting and confusing meaning, since 'which' really needs to follow immediately after the word it refers to...

    as for the comma, that depends on whether 'that' or 'which' is the proper word to use here... i'll fix the muddle and give you two examples:

    'which' works only if there are no other sets of courts in other locations... and yes, it takes a comma...

    'that' works if there are other sets of courts closer and/or farther away... and reads better without a comma...
  4. architectus

    architectus Banned

    Aug 19, 2008
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    I think the question has been answered well, but ten minutes away from what?

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