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A friend who accompanies/accompanying a teenager on a shopping trip may pick out the clothes that he or she decides to purchase.

Does who accompanies/accompanying a teenager on a shopping trip act as an adjective to modify friend?

A friend (who accompanies/accompanying a teenager on a shopping trip) may pick out the clothes that he or she decides to purchase.

Is it the "friend" who will pick out the clothes or "a teenager" who will pick out the clothes"?

And what does he or she represent here, does it mean the friend or the teenager?

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You can call it an "adjectival" usage if you like. But it's usually called a relative clause.

In the example context it can only be the friend who does the picking out, not the teenager. But syntactically it's ambiguous as to whether the "he or she" making the purchasing decision is the friend or the teenager.


Relative clauses can be "restrictive" (identifies one out of multiple instances of the noun modified by the clause), or "non-restrictive" (provides additional information about the specific instance already identified). The latter is delineated by commas in the written form.

Consider A friend, who is French, could help me translate this. With the commas, it means I have a friend. He is French. He could help. But without the commas it means either If I had a French friend he could help, OR [Any] one of my French friends could help.

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