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Restrictive Clause - Glossary of Terms


Restrictive Clause

A restrictive clause is one that is necessary to identify the word it modifies. A restrictive clause is not offset with commas.

Examples:

I went to Reading with the man who lives next door. (identifies the man)
                                                 
                                              restrictive clause (no commas)

I went to Reading with John Baker, who lives next door. (just additional info)
                                                     
                                                   non-restrictive clause (comma required)

With a restrictive clause, the relative pronoun (usually who or which) can be replaced with "that" or even omitted completely.   

Examples:

The window which you cracked is over 300 years old. (identifies the window)
                     
            restrictive clause (no commas)

The window that you cracked is over 300 years old.
(There is never a comma before "that" when it is used in this way.)
The window you cracked is over 300 years old.
 
Sonia, the request you wrote yesterday was rejected. [show me the restrictive clause]
Associated pages:
 
Using which, that and who
No commas with which, that and who
Commas with which, that and who
Glossary of grammatical terms
 
 

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