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SAT

Unit 11: Lesson 3

Writing: Grammar

Writing: Nonrestrictive and parenthetical elements — Example

Watch Sal work through a basic nonrestrictive and parenthetical elements question from the SAT Writing and Language Test.

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  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user vikramrk3
    What if the choice for the dash on either side was present, would you still pick the two commas?
    (15 votes)
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    • leafers tree style avatar for user Alicia Jayne Robert
      In that case both are correct! The SAT only wants you to recognize that you have to use EITHER commas OR dashes but not both in the same sentence. So as long as you choose the answer where they match, it's correct.


      (The test will never give you ,, and -- as potential answer choices because those are both correct)
      (39 votes)
  • old spice man green style avatar for user Meeah Bradford
    When is it appropriate to use a dash in a sentence?
    (8 votes)
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  • male robot hal style avatar for user harish raj
    At Sal said that "who always criticizes me for being late " was a clause, but it is actually an appositive phrase that does NOT act as a clause, but it is a phrase that is used as an adjective.
    (6 votes)
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  • leaf green style avatar for user Christine Jacob
    So is a parenthetical element and a nonrestrictive element the same thing?
    (1 vote)
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    • duskpin tree style avatar for user Saumya Sharma
      Yes, parenthetical element and nonrestrictive element are the same thing. You can take that clause of phrase out and it would disrupt the flow or the meaning of the sentence. Restrictive, on the other hand, is required to understand the meaning of the sentence.
      (1 vote)
  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user saniyamsf
    At 0.35, he mentioned that there must be a dash on either side. What if there is a sentence with one dash and no comma separating the clause?
    (1 vote)
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    • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Lau Sky
      that still wouldn't work because whether using dash, parentheses, or common, you must have it on both sides, which only goes for additional information that is unimportant. You can think of this in this way; when you read the sentence you would have to pause at the beginning of "who always criticized me" and pause near the end of "for being late" because is sounds right and therefore you need to put in commas to fix that, on both sides.
      (1 vote)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Mansi  Seth
    Why is the clause "non-restrictive"?
    (1 vote)
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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Edward Kim
    I thought 2 commas and the 2 dashes meant that the sentence was a non-essential clause instead of adding emphasis. Wouldn't adding emphasis be using 1 dash?
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Neeraj Rattehalli
    But how did you know he put the dash on the right side and not the wrong side?
    (0 votes)
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Video transcript

- [Instructor] My history professor, who always criticizes me for being late, missed our scheduled review session. So you could tell just in how I read it, I had to put a pause here in order for it to make sense, in order for who always criticizes me for being late to describe my history professor. So ideally, I wanna put a comma at the beginning and the end of this clause that is describing my history professor. I don't wanna keep it the same. I wanna put a comma at the beginning and at the end. So I like that choice. Now, let's look at these other ones. My history professor, dash, who always criticizes me for being late. You could separate this clause with a dash, but you would want to separate it with a dash on either side. So if you put a dash here, you would wanna put a dash right over there, which you could view it as a stronger parenthetical. My history professor, who always criticizes me for being late, missed our scheduled review session. I always view the dash as like, make sure you're seeing this thing. It's, hey, I'm really gonna make it clear, this is the person who always criticizes me for being late. So it would've been an option if they had a dash on either end, but they don't, so we're gonna rule this one out. And for the same reason, they only put a dash at the right side but not at the left side, so I would rule this one out as well.