a. The mayor, who lives in this house, has not been seen for days.

This is a non-restrictive relative clause, since it provides supplementary information about the mayor, but is not essential to the sentence – if the clause were omitted, it would still be known which mayor is meant. If the bold part is deleted the remaining part provides the sense. (Wikipedia)

Is a non-restrictive relative clause such as this a subordinate clause?


1 Answer 1


"A nonessential (nonrestrictive) clause is a subordinate clause that is not essential to the meaning of the sentence but merely adds an idea to the sentence." [1]

Thus, by definition, a nonrestrictive clause is also a subordinate clause.

[1]: Warriner's English Grammar and Composition, Complete Course

  • Yes, but non-restrictive relative clauses are special in that unlike restrictive relatives they don't modify an antecedent and combine with it to form a larger nominal. They are inherently non-defining, by virtue of not being integrated into the syntactic structure.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jul 7, 2020 at 16:49

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