ESL Term:

Non-restrictive Clauses

ESL/EFL Glossary: A Guide to applied linguistics terminology.


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non-restrictive clauses: Adjective clauses that are not essential to the meaning of a sentence. While non-restrictive clauses do add information, the meaning of the sentence does not change if they are excluded from the sentence. For example:

The captain, who was tired, stopped the march and set up camp.

Mrs.Jones, who was furious with her husband, slammed the door.

In both cases, the adjective clauses add color to the sentence, but are not necessary for the meaning; the reader still knows who did what.

Note: Non-restrictive clauses like the ones above are punctuated by commas. Non-restrictive clauses can be contrasted to restrictive clauses, which are essential to the meaning of a sentence.