I'm learning how the relative pronoun when works in a sentence. While combining this clause

The day was snowy. My brother was born on that day.

I came up with 2 forms of relative adjective clauses.

  1. The day was snowy when my brother was born.
  2. The day when my brother was born was snowy.

I thought the first one was ungrammatical, but when I checked the sentence using QuillBot, it reflected that the sentence has no grammar error. 

Are there any difference between the 2 sentences? [Edited]

  • 1
    (1) isn't technically incorrect, but it sounds stilted and unnatural. May 10, 2023 at 7:38
  • I was wondering about the same thing as well. But is there any reason that (1) shouldn't be used?
    – seven
    May 10, 2023 at 7:43
  • It sounds like something out of a 19th century novel; rather stiff and old-fashioned. May 10, 2023 at 7:46
  • Asking "is this correct?" is considered proofreading and off-topic for this site.
    – Astralbee
    May 10, 2023 at 8:01
  • Thank you for the reminder
    – seven
    May 10, 2023 at 8:55

2 Answers 2


Your second sentence is fine. The relative clause ("when my brother was born") is adjacent to the nominal that it modifies ("the day").

Your first sentence moves the relative clause away from the nominal that it modifies. That is a bit unusual but allowed in certain contexts, especially when the relative clause is lengthy. (It is sometimes called "extraposition from a noun phrase". The Wikipedia article on extraposition calls this the "standard case".) However, it sounds awkward here because "when" introduces adverbial clauses more often than relative clauses. Thus, the clause might seem to modify "was" instead of "the day". That is why sentence 2 sounds better than sentence 1 even though both are grammatically correct.

  • Thank you. This was very helpful!
    – seven
    May 11, 2023 at 6:08

Both sentences are correct.

The first sounds a bid odd, maybe poetic. The second is natural.

This is probably because the clause "when my brother was born" seems to modify the noun "day", so it makes sense to have the clause right after the noun, but in your first sentence, you have "was snowy" in between.

If we replace "the day" with "it", it feels more clear that the "when"-clause modifies "the day was snowy":

It was snowy when my brother was born.

This is both correct and natural.

  • Hi gotube, I read your answer after posting mine and realized that they're very similar. I left mine since I think that it's a little different, but please let me know if you think that there's not much difference as I have absolutely no problem deleting it. Thanks. May 11, 2023 at 4:59
  • 1
    @MarcInManhattan I don't really care if they're similar, so long as you don't copy-paste my text ;)
    – gotube
    May 11, 2023 at 5:14

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