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Relative Clause: Definition and Examples

Grade 7
Aug 30, 2022

Grammar – Pronoun – Types – Relative 

A pronoun that initiates a relative clause is called a relative pronoun as it relates to the word that its relative clause modifies. Here is an example: 

The person who called me last night is my yoga instructor. 

In the above example, who relates to The person, which juxtaposes and introduces the relative clause who called me last night. 

There are five basic relative pronouns:  

Who, whom, whose, which, that. 


This could be further sub-divided into—defining relative clause and non-defining relative clause. 

Defining clause  

Defining clause also named as a restrictive clause, gives essential information about the noun in question. It’s so important that it cannot be cut out of the sentence and still conveys the intended meaning. Additionally, defining clauses require no additional punctuation.  

  • This is the cat that was hit by a car. 
  • These are the areas that have been rectified. 
  • These are the people who want to buy our place. 
  • Give the funds to someone who really needs it. 

Non-defining clause 

Non-defining clauses are those which add information that’s complementary but isn’t essential to the sentence’s overall meaning. They could be taken out, and the sentence would convey the same information. Therefore, non-defining clauses are set apart from the main sentence by commas, which help to indicate its less important parts in the sentence. 

  • This watch, which I adore, is worth over a million dollars. 
  • My neighbor, who lives down the road, got a new car. 
  • The tree, which is next to the bungalow, is getting new leaves. 
  • The headmaster, who was about to retire, began writing his memoirs. 


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