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English definition of “relative clause”

relative clause

noun [C]     specialized
part of a sentence that cannot exist independently and describes a noun that comes before it in the main part of the sentence : In the sentence 'The woman who I met was wearing a brown hat ', 'who I met ' is a relative clause .Sentences and expressions Grammar:Relative clausesRelative clauses give us more information about someone or something. We can use relative clauses to combine clauses without repeating information.Grammar:Types of relative clauseThere are two types of relative clause: one type refers to a noun or noun phrase (these are defining and non-defining relative clauses) and the other type refers to a whole sentence or clause, especially in speaking.Grammar:Relative clauses: defining and non-definingGrammar:Defining relative clausesWe use defining relative clauses to give essential information about someone or something – information that we need in order to understand what or who is being referred to. A defining relative clause usually comes immediately after the noun it describes.Grammar:Non-defining relative clausesWe use non-defining relative clauses to give extra information about the person or thing. It is not necessary information. We don’t need it to understand who or what is being referred to.Grammar:Defining or non-defining relative clauses?Sometimes defining and non-defining relative clauses can look very similar but have different meanings.Grammar:Relative clauses referring to a whole sentenceSome relative clauses refer to a whole clause, a whole sentence, or a longer stretch of language. We always use which to introduce these clauses.
(Definition of relative clause noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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