Antecedent

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In grammar, an antecedent is a segment of text represented by or repeated by another segment of text. An antecedent is of particular importance in connection with relative pronouns. The pronoun usually opens the relative clause but the antecedent is in the main clause.

Examples[change | change source]

I want a book that I can read.

In the above example, the relative pronoun 'that' refers back to the antecedent, the word 'book'. Therefore, the main clause is "I want a book" and the relative clause is "that I can read".

Some further examples:

  • Willy said he likes chocolate. - Noun as antecedent
  • My eccentric uncle likes chocolate. He tells everyone to buy him chocolate. - Noun phrase as antecedent
  • Larry was helpful, and so was Kim. - Adjective as antecedent
  • He arrived in the afternoonwhen nobody was home. - Prepositional phrase as antecedent

The relative pronouns are: who, whom, whose, which, that.