Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Relative Clause

Definition: 

A relative clause is a clause which describes the referent of a head noun or pronoun. It often restricts the reference of the head noun or pronoun.

Discussion: 

A relative clause is not necessarily a constituent of the noun phrase containing the head noun it modifies.

Examples: 

The plumber arrived who we had called earlier. (Who we had called earlier has been extraposed from its normal position after plumber and is not a member of the noun phrase containing plumber.)

 
(English)
  • The man who went
  • Passengers leaving on Flight 738