Relative Clauses
(3,771 words)

1. Typology

A relative clause is a clause that modifies a noun phrase, as illustrated in the following example:




[wǒ  gěi   nǐ     de]  shū


 1sg  give  2sg  sub  book


‘the book that I gave you’

Relative clauses in Mandarin are characterized by the following features:

they are prenominal;
they do not contain a relative pronoun (note that suǒ 所 is not a relative pronoun (see Chiu 1995, Jiang 2008 and Aldridge, in press, and references cited there);
they generally require the pr…

Cite this page
Francesca DEL GOBBO, “Relative Clauses”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 19 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015

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