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What is the grammatical name and function of ...who finally broke down under the strain of waiting for rain"

it was the women of the family who finally broke down under the strain of waiting for rain.

  • It's called a Relative Clause. This particular one is a restrictive relative clause, the most common type. They modify noun phrases (in this case the women of the family), and provide information about them. Relative clauses often begin with Wh-words like who or which (but not what, for some reason), and can also begin with that; in many cases the beginning word can be omitted. – John Lawler Jun 7 at 13:34

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