Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Relative Clause


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.


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


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.)

  • The man who went
  • Passengers leaving on Flight 738