I am trying to figure out what components of a non-restrictive relative clause (if any) corefer with a previously mentioned antecedent. Here is the example I am working with:

“Mandy Monroe, one of the newest members, asked me….”

With this example, does the entire clause [one of the newest members] corefer with [Mandy Monroe]? (Or does it not corefer at all)? Any help on this is welcome!

PS: Please let me know if this isn't actually a non-restrictive relative clause.

  • 3
    I'd call it an appositive, not a relative clause. Commented May 24, 2017 at 9:45
  • It can't be a relative clause since there is no relativized element that is linked to an antecedent. It's actually an appositive noun phrase, more specifically a supplementary appositive NP. You can tell it's an appositive NP by the fact that it can be substituted for the whole NP yielding an entailment of the original. Your example entails one of the newest members asked me….
    – BillJ
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 13:11
  • @BillJ Thanks for letting me know! So, regarding my original question, is any part of this appositive NP corefering with [Mandy Monroe]? Commented May 24, 2017 at 14:11
  • No, appositives do not co-refer as such, but have an 'anchor'. In this case, the appositive is adjacent to the anchor.
    – BillJ
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 16:18
  • Many linguists who are not as firmly committed to monostratal explanations consider appositives to be merely the remains of deceased non-restrictive relative clauses. The "anchor" that @BillJ refers to could be considered an avatar of the missing relative pronoun, which would co-refer if it were not deleted by Whiz-Deletion.
    – jlawler
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 23:52

1 Answer 1


I agree that your example is a reduced non-restrictive relative clause. For evidence that appositives of this sort are reduced clauses, see McCawley's discussion of appositives. However, in the clause "(who is) one of the newest members", the expression "one of the newest members" is not in a coreferential position. It predicates something of "who". The term "coreference" is ordinarily reserved for presupposed coreference, not asserted reference, as we have here. There is discussion of the difference between asserted and presupposed reference in Postal's book Crossover phenomena (1971).

  • Thanks for the suggested readings, I'll have to take a look at them. So would you say that this is the case for all non-restrictive relative clauses (reduced or not)? Because I have another one that goes like this: "Mandy's husband, the president of the club, has been...." Here, I assumed that [the president of the club] was coreferential with [Mandy's husband]. What do you think? Commented May 24, 2017 at 14:24
  • Please review the last part of my answer. "the president of the club" is an asserted reference. To speak of it being coreferential with "Mandy's husband" is confusing at best.
    – Greg Lee
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 14:29
  • @BillJ, please read over the reference I gave to the evidence given in McCawley's discussion. In modern linguistics, we deal with evidence, not just terminology.
    – Greg Lee
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 16:23
  • Oh please! I follow H&P who give evidence for all their claims. As it happens, on looking at the OP's example again, I think the NP "one of the newest members" is ascriptive (not specifying) and hence not an appositive. It is still a supplement, of course, with "Mandy Monroe" as anchor, but it's a modifier, not an appositive. It's not some 'reduced relative' clause (a ridiculous misnomer if ever there was one) as you call it.
    – BillJ
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 19:10

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