Nominal Relative Clauses

Nominal relative clauses are used as different parts of speeches and act as a noun or a noun phrase. Click here to learn more!

Nominal Relative Clauses in the English Grammar

What Are Nominal Relative Clauses?

Nominal relative clauses are dependent clauses that function as a noun within a sentence, typically serving as either the objects, subjects, or complements of the independent clause. These clauses are introduced by a nominal relative pronoun or a relative determiner, and they modify or describe the noun or noun phrase in the independent clause.

What Are Nominal Relative Clauses Used for?

Nominal relative clauses are used as objects, subjects, or complements for the main clause and they act as a noun or a noun phrase. As a result, they are regarded as noun clauses or nominal clauses.

When you saw me doesn't matter.

'When you saw me' acts as a subject for 'doesn't matter.'

It is what you want.

'What you want' is the complement of 'it is.'

I do whatever you say.

'Whatever you say' is the object of 'do.'

an example of using a nominal relative clause

Where Are Relative Clauses Placed?

Nominal relative clauses are introduced by a nominal relative pronoun, which always follows the independent clause.

I don't know why you called me.

'Why' is a nominal relative pronoun introducing 'why you called me' as a nominal relative clause and the object of the verb 'know.'

Nominal Relative Clauses vs. Adjectival Relative Clauses

Nominal relative clauses are objects or subjects, but adjectival relative clauses are adjectives that add information to the preceding noun or noun phrase. Pay attention to the examples below:

I know the man whose book you have bought.

'Whose' here is a relative pronoun, introducing an adjective relative clause.

I know whose book you have bought.

'Whose' is a possessive relative determiner introducing a nominal relative clause.

Review

Nominal relative clauses can be followed by a noun or it can also be followed by a to-infinitive. Nominal relative clauses are used as:

  • subjects
  • objects
  • complements

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