Introduction The relative clause is used to combine sentences together without repeating information and provides extra information. In a sentence, it must contain a main clause which is an essential part of the sentence while a subordinate clause can be added to the main clause as it is a non-essential part of the sentence. The main clause can stand as a complete sentence with given meaning while the subordinate clause cannot stand as a complete sentence and depends on the main clause to express the whole meaning. Without the subordinate clause, the sentence still functions grammatically. The relative clause is a type of subordinate clauses in English and it should be distinguished from the other clause types as they have different functions.- Main clauses must contain a subject and a verb:· E. g.
I love my cat. It was raining but the sun was shining. (Two main clauses)- Subordinate clauses can function as (1) nouns, (2) adjectives, and (3) adverb:(1) Noun clause- A subordinate clause acts as a noun in a sentence. It can work as a noun either at the place of a subject or object.
·E. g. Whatever we study increase our knowledge. (Noun as subject) Now I understand what you told me last week. (Noun as object)(2) Adjective clause (relative clause)- A subordinate clause acts as an adjective which modifies to a noun in a sentence.· E. g.
He hates the people who waste time. (modifies noun: people) I read a book which amused me a lot. (modifies noun: movie)(3) Adverb clause- A subordinate clause acts as an adverb which modifies a verb in a sentence.·E. g. Unless you avoid sugar, you can’t lose weight. (modifies verb: lose weight) Call me when you need help.
(modifies verb: call)Types of relative clauseThere are various types of relative clauses in English, they are: (1) Bound and free, (2) Restrictive and non-restrictive, and (3) Finite and infinite clause.(1) Bound and freeA relative clause as a modifier to noun or pronoun with the use of wh- words. A relative clause also contains relativized element ( R element) which is related to the antecedent.
Antecedent means the expression in an upper clause that is modified by the relative clause. The relation between the relativized element and the antecedent is called anaphora. And if there is a relative pronoun, then the relativized element will correspond to the relative pronoun. Therefore, the relativized element is usually characterized by its function in the relative clause.
Let’s look at the example sentence in more detail. A woman who I know got hit by a car. -In analysing this example, the noun woman is the antecedent and the relativized element is the direct object of the verb ‘ know’. In addition to relative pronoun, there is Zero relative which is an exclusive relative clause in English. English has a zero relative pronoun (denoted below as Ø)—that is, the relative pronoun is implied and not explicitly written or spoken.
Jack built the house that I was born in. Jack built the house Ø I was born in. The zero relative pronouns cannot be the subject of the verb in the relative clause. Thus one may say: Jack built the house that sits on the hill.*Jack built the house Ø sits on the hill. The relativized elements have different functions, like: subject, object, prepositional complement, and adverbial.-Subject: The phone belongs to me. The phone is on the desk.
The relative pronoun that replaces the subject the phone to form a new subordinate clause that is on the desk belongs to me and joins the two sentences together ‘ The phone that is on the desk belongs to me’.- Object: The pie was poisoned. The princess ate the pie. The relative pronoun that replaces the object the pie in the second sentence to form the sentence: The pie that the princess ate was poisoned.
-Prepositional complement: The orphanage desperately needs new stationaries. My grandmother donated some money to the orphanage. The relative pronoun which replaces the prepositional complement the orphanage in the second sentence and a new sentence is formed The orphanage to which my grandmother donated some money desperately needs new stationaries.-Adverbial: E. g. The snacks are at the store. The store also sells toys.
The relative pronoun where replaces the adverbial at the store. A new sentence formed: The store where the snacks are also sells toys.(2) Restrictive and non-restrictiveRelative clauses are traditionally classified into restrictive (defining) and non-restrictive (non-defining). Both of them are used to give extra information about the noun in the sentence, but not in the same way. The restrictive relative clause gives detail about the specific noun that is defined, and we generally use a relative pronoun (e. g.
who, which, whose, whom and that) in the sentence. While the non-restrictive relative clause gives detail, without restricting the person or thing being mentioned and we use the wh-words in the sentence. (a)Her sister who works at the supermarket is my classmate.
(defining) (b)Her sister, who works at the supermarket, is my classmate. (non-defining)-Even though they look very similar but have different meanings. (a) means she has more than one sister.
The one I’m talking about works at the supermarket; while (b) means she has only one sister, and that sister works at the supermarket. The information in a restrictive relative clause is important, so we can’t omit the relative clause, while the information in a non-defining relative clause is not necessary to the meaning of the sentence, so we can omit it. For example: (a)The student who is sitting next to me is my friend.
(b) The River Nile, which is over 6, 500 kilometres long, is Egypt’s main source of water.-without the information in (a), we do not know which student the speaker is referring to; while it is clear which river in (b), so that the relative clause is extra information. Furthermore, for the restrictive relative, it can question the head noun with ‘ which’: Which city is larger than London? The relative pronoun can be omitted when the restrictive relative clauses have the gerund-participial clause correspondence, it can be called ‘ reduced relatives’: The man (who) drinking orange juice is my friend. we can use the subordinator that instead of who, whom or which in restrictive relative clauses, but not in non-restrictive relative clauses: They’re the people who/that want to buy our house. The car, which was very old, was bought by John ten years ago.
*The car, that was very old, was bought by John ten years ago. we can omit the relative pronoun when it is the object of the verb in the restrictive relative clause, but not in non-restrictive relative clause: This is the book (which) I told you about last week. The child, who I play with, is running on the playground. *The child, I play with, is running on the playground. For the non-restrictive relative clause, it can include the sentential (also called connective) relatives. It is referred to the whole preceding clause or sentence, rather than to the preceding noun. He kept on making lots of noise, which annoyed all of us(=.
.. noise; this annoyed…
.) Sherry doesn’t want to meet Peter, which I can understand and imagine.(3) Finite and infinitive clauseA finite relative clause is a kind of relative clause which contains a finite verb and is mainly found in main clause or subordinate clause. The finite verb demonstrates tense.
-Finite clause as the main clause:· E. g. Is he dancing? (Main: present) I spoke to Joe last night. (Main: past) We didn’t get any food because we didn’t have enough time.
(main: past; subordinate: past)-Finite clause as the subordinate clause:· E. g. I don’t think that she is good at drawing. While my mum was cooking TV, the phone rang.
Relative infinitive clause, or infinitival clause takes over a relative pronoun and finite verb with an infinitive. This can appear in both defining or non-defining relative clause. Also, this can be divided with two functions.
The first is transforming common tenses. For example: (1)Mary is usually the first student who enters the classroom.(Active Voice) (2)This cat was the last animal which was discovered.(Passive Voice)In these two example, we can see that the noun is always the subject before the infinitive of this clause.
Usually, the noun is following after the ordinal numbers before the infinitiveor after superlative adjectives. There are four types to use relative infinitive clause in different tense. 1. Using active verb/present participle to replace simple to-infinitive.
(a) The next person to attend the party will get a surprised gift. (b) The next person who attends the party will get a surprised gift. 2. Using simple past or present perfect tense to replace simple or perfect infinitive.
(a) You are the only friend to meet/to have met him recently. (b) You are the only friend who has met him recently. 3. To be +-ing form can be changed to present continuous tense. (a) Peter is the second person to be finishing the exam. (b) Peter is the second person who is finishing the exam.
4. To be +-ing form or perfect -ing form from infinitive can be changed to past continuous tense. (a) This tiger was the last animal to be staying/ to have been stayed there in those days. (b) This tiger was the last animal who was staying there in those days. The second functions is transforming modal structure. For example: (1) A story to tell= a story (that) I can tell (2) The man to tell to = the man who you should tell toIt shows that some modal verbs are used in relative infinitives with certain meaning. There are several modal verbs can replace infinitives with its expression.
1. Should e. g. (a)This is the best place to do our work (b) This is the best place where we should do our work. (c) Tom’s the person to speak to. (d)Tom’s the person who/that you should speak to. 2.
Can e. g. (a) I need a password to enter the website. (b) I need a password which/that I can enter the website.
(c) Have you borrow some book to learn to in holiday? (d) Have you borrow some book to which/that we can learn to in holiday? 3. Must e. g. (a) That will give him a lot to consider. (b) That will give him a lot that he must consider.
ConclusionIn the beginning of the paper, we introduced the usage of the relative clause and the various functions for different types of clauses and this can explain why we should distinguish relative clause from other clause. Furthermore, we have discussed the three main types of relative clause with examples. First, the relativized element can be present/ absent in the relative clause.
Then, the difference and the importance between restrictive and non-restrictive relative clause. Finally, the functions and difference between finite and infinite clause. After the analysis of the types of relative clause, we could distinguish between them easily.