Free relative

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Free relative is relative clause that occurs without an antecedent.


the subject in (i), who finishes first, is a free relative.

	(i) [who finishes first] wins the prize

Usually one assumes that free relatives are NPs with an empty head noun: [NP 0 [S who finishes first]].


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Smits, R.J.C. 1989. The relative and cleft constructions of the Germanic and Romance languages, doct. diss. KUB, Tilburg, Dordrecht: Foris, 1988.