MOODS IN RELATIVE CLAUSES.
289. Relative Clauses are introduced by relative pronouns and by relative adverbs of time, place, and manner. They may be divided into two classes:I. Definite Relative Clauses, i.e. clauses which refer to a definite and actual event or fact. The antecedent may he expressed or understood. If not in itself definite, it is made so by the definiteness of the relative clause.290. It should be observed that the distinction between the definite and the indefinite relative clause cannot be drawn simply by reference to the relative pronoun employed, or to the word which stands as the antecedent of the relative. A definite relative clause may be introduced by an indefinite relative pronoun or may have an indefinite pronoun as its antecedent. On the other hand, an indefinite relative clause may have as its antecedent a definite term, e.g., a demonstrative pronoun, and may be introduced by the simple relative. A clause and its antecedent are made definite by the reference of the clause to a definite and actual event; they are made indefinite by the reference of the clause to a supposed event or instance. Thus if one say, He received whatever profit was made, meaning, In a certain transaction, or in certain transactions, profit was made, and he received it, the relative clause is definite, because it refers to an actual event or series of events. But if one use the same words meaning, If any profit was made, he received it, the relative clause is indefinite, because it implies a condition, referring to an event — the making of profit — which is only supposed. In John 1:12, but as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, we are doubtless to understand the relative clause as definite, not because of the expressed antecedent, them, but because the clause refers to a certain class who actually received him. In Rom. 5:24, on the other hand, who hopeth for that which he seeth? the relative clause apparently does not refer to a definite thing seen and an actual act of seeing, but is equivalent to a conditional clause, if he seeth anything. In Mark 3:11, whensoever they beheld him, they fell down before him, the form of the Greek sentence shows that the meaning is, If at any time they saw him, they were wont to fall down before him. That is, while the class of events is actual, the relative clause presents the successive instances distributively as suppositions. These examples serve to show how slight may be the difference at times between a definite and an indefinite relative clause, and that it must often be a matter of choice for the writer whether he will refer to an event as actual, or present it as a supposition.
II. Indefinite or Conditional Relative Clauses, i.e. clauses which refer not to a definite and actual event, but to a supposed event or instance, and hence imply a condition. The antecedent may be expressed or understood; if expressed, it is usually some indefinite or generic word.
291. Relative clauses denoting purpose, and relative clauses introduced by e[wj and other words meaning until, show special peculiarities of usage and require separate discussion. For purposes of treatment therefore we must recognize four classes of relative clauses.I. Definite relative clauses, excluding those which express purpose, and those introduced by words meaning until.
II. Indefinite or Conditional relative clauses, excluding those which express purpose, and those introduced by words meaning until.
III. Relative clauses expressing purpose.
IV. Relative clauses introduced by words meaning until.