Non-identifying relative clause

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A non-identifying relative clause, also known as a non-defining or non-restrictive relative clause is a relative clause that adds secondary information to a sentence, almost as an afterthought. Commas are used to "isolate" the clause from the rest of the sentence.


  • My brother, who is an engineer, has been working in the same company for over twenty-five years.
  • My favourite dish is roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, which is difficult to find on a restaurant menu.

You cannot use that[edit]

  • John, who (not that) plays rugby and cricket, is always busy at weekends.
  • Paul took me for a drive in his new car, which (not that) he had bought last week.

You cannot leave out who or which[edit]

  • We stayed at the Grand Hotel, which Ann had recommended to us.


This is one of the few cases that you can use whom (when it is the object):

  • This morning I met Diane, who (or whom) I hadn’t seen since Christmas.

See also[edit]