Relative Clause

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A Relative Clause is a subordinate clause that begins with a relative pronoun and functions as an adjective.



    • A relative clause is a kind of subordinate clause, one of whose arguments shares a referent with a main clause element on which the subordinate clause is grammatically dependent.

      Most typically, a relative clause modifies a noun or noun phrase, and uses some grammatical device to indicate that one of the arguments within the relative clause has the same referent as that noun or noun phrase. For example, in the sentence I met a man who wasn't there, the subordinate clause who wasn't there is a relative clause, since it modifies the noun man, and uses the pronoun who to indicate that the same "man" is referred to within the subordinate clause (in this case, as its subject).

      In many European languages, relative clauses are introduced by a special class of pronouns called relative pronouns ;[1] such as who in the example just given. In other languages, relative clauses may be marked in different ways: they may be introduced by a special class of conjunctions called relativizers ; the main verb of the relative clause may appear in a special morphological variant; or a relative clause may be indicated by word order alone.[2] In some languages, more than one of these mechanisms may be possible.

  1. Kurzová, Helena (1981) (in German). Der Relativsatz in den indoeuropäischen Sprachen [Relative Clauses in the Indo-European Languages]. Hamburg: Buske. p. 117. ISBN 3-87118-458-6. OCLC 63317519. 
  2. Lehmann, Christian (1984) (in German). Der Relativsatz [Relative Clauses]. Language universals series ; vol. 3. Tübingen: G. Narr. p. 438. ISBN 3-87808-982-1. OCLC 14358164.