Restrictive relative clause

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Definition

A restrictive relative clause is a relative clause that restricts the meaning of the head noun. It is used to restrict the class of entities that can be denoted by a noun phrase.

Examples

The woman I met yesterday on the market is visiting us tomorrow.

In the books that John read, the restrictive relative clause that John read restricts the set of books to those that are read by John. Non-restrictive relative clauses add further qualifications to the reference of the noun phrase but do not narrow down (nor expand) its extension. Thus in this book, which John gave to me, the non-restrictive relative clause does not restrict the set of books. The difference between a restrictive and a non-restrictive interpretation is often only expressed intonationally.

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