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The relative clause
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Tradott mill-Ingliz minn ...

A relative clause starts with a relative pronoun? or adverb that refers to someone or something in the main clause. For example: "That is the man who lives next door" or "The song that I used to sing."

A relative clause has the same word order as a subordinate clause.

in a relative clause, all verbs are grouped at the end.

We have already encountered this when we discussed the subordinate clause?.

There is difference with the subordinate clause. In a subordinate clause, the conjunction glues the clauses together but we can see it as a separate part that does not belong to either clause.

In a relative clause, the 'conjunction' is an integral part of the clause. It can serve, for example, as a subject, a direct object, or an indication of time.

'Normal' main clause:

Left Middle Right
FF? PLACE? OV?
Hij heeft in Caïro gewoond
He has lived in Cairo.

In the relative clause, we find PLACE? at the beginning because this is where 'waar' (where) refers to.

The rest of the word order stays the same:

. Left Middle Right
main clause PLACE? subject - verbs?
Dat is de stad waar hij - heeft gewoond
That is the city where he has lived.

We can also make the relative clause refer to the man instead of the city. This time, the relative clause begins with the subject:

. Left Middle Right
main clause subject - PLACE? verbs?
Dat is de man die - in Caïro heeft gewoond
That is the man who has lived in Caïro.

'Normal' main clause:

Left Middle Right
FF? TIME? OV?
Het huis wordt deze week geschilderd
The house will be painted this week.

The relative clause begins with the subject (dat).

. Left Middle Right
main clause subject - TIME? verbs?
Ik woon in het huis dat - deze week geschilderd wordt.
I live in the house that will be painted this week.

If we make the relative clause refer to the moment the house is going to be renovated, the clause will begin with TIME?. Again, the rest of the word order remains the same.

. Left Middle Right
main clause TIME? subject - verbs?
Ik weet niet wanneer het huis -- geschilderd wordt.
I do not know when the house will be painted.

'Normal' main clause:

Left Middle Right
FF? DIROB? INDOB? OV?
We hebben een boek voor haar gekocht
We have bought a book for her.

If we turn this into a sentence with a relative clause, we can have the relative clause refer to the direct object (the book) or the indirect object (her). Let us do both.

The relative clause begins with a direct object:

. Left Middle Right
main clause DIROB? subject INDOB? verbs?
Dit is het boek dat wij voor haar hebben gekocht
That is the book that we bought for her.

The relative clause begins with an indirect object:

. Left Middle Right
main clause INDOB? subject DIROB? verbs?
Dat is het meisje voor wie we het boek hebben gekocht
That is the girl for whom we bought the book.

Normal main clause:

Left Middle Right
FF? EHD? MANNER? OV?
Ik heb er met veel plezier gewerkt.
(lit:) I have worked there with much pleasure.

If we let the relative clause refer to 'met veel plezier' (with much pleasure, we do not say met wat but waarmee.

This has something to do with the pronominal adverb? that we need if a pronoun (wat in this case) is preceded by a preposition (met). To make things more complicated, where most prepositions remain unchanged, met always turns into mee when we attach it to a pronominal adverb.

. Left Middle Right
main clause MANNER? subject INDOB? verbs?
Dit is het gevoel waarmee ik er heb gewerkt
(lit:) That is the feeling with which I worked there.

Normal main clause:

Left Middle Right
FF? DIROB? OV?
Ik wil mijn blauwe spijkerbroek dragen
I want to wear my blue jeans.

The relative clause can also be placed inside the main clause:

. Left Middle Right
main clause DIROB? subject -- verbs? main clause
Ik kan de broek die ik -- wil dragen niet vinden
I cannot find the trousers that I want to wear.

Although it is possible to nest a relative clause inside a main clause, it is recommended you only do this with short relative clauses. To keep the sentence legible, longer ones should be placed after the main clause.


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