What Is a Non-restrictive Clause? (with Examples)
What Is a Non-restrictive Clause? (with Examples)A non-restrictive clause is a clause that is not needed to identify the word it modifies, i.e., it is just additional information. As a non-restrictive clause is not essential to the meaning of a sentence, it is offset with commas. For example:
- Peter Jones , who plays goalkeeper for our village football team, has worked at his father's greengrocers for twenty years. (The shaded text is a non-restrictive clause. It describes Peter Jones , but it does not identify him. It is merely additional information about him. Deleting this clause would not affect the meaning.)
- The man who plays goalkeeper for our village football team has worked at his father's greengrocers for twenty years. (The bold text is a restrictive clause. It describes the man, and it identifies him. It is not just additional information. It is essential for understanding.)
You are not limited to commas when offsetting a non-restrictive clause. You can use parentheses (brackets) or dashes too.
Read more about your choices of punctuation for offsetting a non-restrictive clause.
Examples of Non-restrictive ClausesHere are some more examples of non-restrictive clauses:
- I went to London with John Baker, who lives next door. (This is just additional information. It's a non-restrictive clause.)
- Betty, who is still on the ferry, will arrive before 4 o'clock. (This is just additional information. It's a non-restrictive clause.)
Some More Examples of Non-restrictive ClausesHere are some more examples of non-restrictive clauses in real-life quotes (non-restrictive clauses shaded):
- Every journalist has a novel in him, which is an excellent place for it. (Russel Lynes)
- Humans are the only animals that have children on purpose with the exception of guppies, who like to eat theirs. (P J O'Rourke)
- She had a pretty gift for quotation, which is a serviceable substitute for wit.
- You can talk about anything if you go about it the right way, which is never malicious. (Rodney Carrington)