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Non Restrictive Clause


A Clause is nothing but a group of words which at times might form part of a sentence or might be a complete sentence in itself. It consists of a subject and a verb and is considered to be the smallest grammatical unit which makes sense. They can be mainly classified under two heads based on their meaning:

1. Independent or Main Clause (one which expresses complete meaning and can stand on its own)
2. Dependent or Subordinate Clause (one which cannot make a complete meaning on its own and cannot stand alone and need the help of an Independent Clause to form a sentence) which can be further divided under three heads:
a) Noun Clause (A dependent Clause which acts as a noun)
b) Adjective Clause (A dependent Clause which acts as an adjective)
c) Adverbial Clause (A dependent Clause which acts as an adverb)


Adjective Clause

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A Dependent Clause (who, whom, whose, that, which etc.), acting as an adjective is known as an Adjective Clause. Also known as Relative Clause functions similar to an adjective i.e. it also modifies a noun or pronoun. It will satisfy the below conditions, i.e.
  • It acts as an adjective and thus answers the questions like which, what, whom, who, etc.,
  • It generally begins with a relative pronoun (that, who, which, whose, whom) or a relative adverb (when, why, where). 
There are two types of Adjective Clause:
  1. Restrictive or Essential or Definite Clause 
  2. Non Restrictive or Non-Essential or Non Definite Clause 

Non Restrictive Clauses: Non Restrictive Clause too is just the opposite of the Restrictive Clause. It does not restrict or limit the noun it modifies and is set off by commas unlike the Restrictive Clause. It is just gives us additional information which is not so essential to the sentence, and thus even removing or deleting the Non Restrictive Clause will not cause much difference to the sentence. 

  1. I went to the museum with Sam, who lives next door.
  2. My sister, who is an excellent dancer, is moving to London.
In both the above sentence the clauses even if removed will not create much difference to the sentence.

A non-restrictive clause is that which conveys some insignificant or unnecessary information about the antecedent in the main clause, which is not essential for the sentence to make sense, and so can be omitted without changing the meaning of the sentence. This is the reason why relative pronouns that introduce a non-restrictive clause are commonly separated from the main clause by a comma.  

List of Non-Restrictive Clauses

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The two main kinds of non-restrictive clauses are enlisted below
  1. A non-restrictive clause using relative pronoun as a subject
  2. A non-restrictive clause using relative pronoun as an object

A)  Usage of a  non-restrictive relative clause using relative pronoun as a subject:
  1. The inter-school debate, which was held in the city auditorium, announced the names of the winners today.
  2. Her latest book turned out to be a bestseller, which greatly surprised her family and colleagues.
  3. The boy next door, who studies in the City School, has bought a brand new bicycle.
  4. The bestselling author of our country, whose books have inspired many lives, will visit our city today.
B)  Usage of a non-restrictive relative clause using relative pronoun as an object:
  1. The movie, which he appreciated for its theme, was acclaimed as the best movie of the year.
  2. The city bus, by which they reached the picnic spot, accommodated only fifty students.
  3. My English Teacher, whom I admire very much, has got her poetry published in a national magazine.
  4. The best tennis player of our school, who has been invited to participate in the inter-school play, will be migrating to Australia next year.
Underline the sentences having relative subordinate clause or restrictive or non-restrictive.
  1. My uncle, who lives in Melbourne, works as a Professor in a University.
  2. I don’t like toys that make too much noise.
  3. The springtime pizza, which is my favorite, has loads of mint and coriander on top.
  4. I have bought a portable health machine that offers easy workout options for the old and the young alike.
  5. I like places that are serene.
  6. Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote "The Raven," is a great American poet.
  7. Frieda’s husband, Nathan, accompanied her to the poetry reading.
  8. Bernard, who is still on the ferry, will arrive before 4 o'clock.
  9. The dining table in our house, which is made of marble, is an eye-catching piece of furniture.
  10. The painting of Mona Lisa, which is an incomparable work of art, is a half-length portrait of a woman by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci.
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