Difference Between Relative Clause and Subordinate Clause l Relative Clause vs Subordinate Clause

The key difference between relative clause and subordinate clause is that the relative clause begins with a relative pronoun whereas the subordinate clause begins with a subordinating conjunction or a relative pronoun.

First of all, a clause is a group of words that contain a subject and a predicate. There are two types of clauses namely independent clauses and dependent clauses. Independent clauses can convey a complete thought whereas dependent clauses cannot. Dependent clauses are also known as subordinate clauses. A relative clause is also a type of a subordinate clause.


1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is a Relative Clause
3. What is a Subordinate Clause
4. Similarities Between Relative Clause and Subordinate Clause
5. Side by Side Comparison – Relative Clause vs Subordinate Clause in Tabular Form
6. Summary

What is a Relative Clause?

A relative clause is a clause that begins with a relative pronoun. Since it begins with a relative pronoun, it cannot give a complete idea. Therefore, a relative clause is a type of subordinate clause. A relative clause basically acts as an adjective as it identifies and modifies the noun preceding it. For example,

This is the guy who helped us yesterday.

Give me the book that is on the table.

Neal, who is my neighbor, is an eyewitness to the accident.

The party, which lasted the whole night, ended with the gruesome murder of the host.

This is the hotel where they met.