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Notes on Relative Clauses

Notes on Relative Clauses

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Published by: jcastel on May 02, 2008
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Student´s name:__________________________ Teacher: Jimena Castellión Date:________ 
English Department 
Grammar Notes: Relative Clauses
Introduction
Here is a brief review of adjective clauses and relative pronouns. An
adjective clause
is used to
describe
a noun:
The car,which was red, belonged to Young-Hee.
 A
relative pronoun
is usually used to
introduce
an adjectiveclause:
 Young-Hee,whois a Korean student, lives in Victoria.
 
The main relative pronouns are:Who:
used for 
humans
:
Hans,whois an architect, lives in Berlin.
 
Which:
used for 
things and animals
:
Marike has a dogwhichfollows her everywhere.
 
That:
used for 
humans, animals and things
(but see below):
Marike is decorating a housethatHans designed.
 
Grammar NotesRelative Clausespag. 1/10
 
Student´s name:__________________________ Teacher: Jimena Castellión Date:________ 
English Department 
There are two main kinds of adjective clause:Non-defining clauses:
give
extra information
about thenoun, but they are
not essential
:
The desk in the corner,which is covered in books, ismine.
 (We don't need this information in order to understand the sentence. "The desk in thecorner is mine" is a good sentence on its own -- we still know which desk is referred to.Note that non-defining clauses are usually separated by commas, and
that 
is not usuallyused in this kind of context.)
Defining clauses:
give
essential information
about thenoun
:
The packagethat arrived this morningis on the desk.
 (We need this information in order to understand the sentence. Without the relative clause,we don't know which package is being referred to. Note that
that 
is often used in non-defining relative clauses, and they are not separated by commas.)
Adjective Clauses
An
adjective clause
is a dependent clause which takes the place of an adjective in another clause or  phrase. Like an adjective, an adjective clause modifies a noun or  pronoun, answering questions like"which?" or "what kind of?" Consider the following examples:
Adjective
 the
red
coat
Adjective clause
 the coat
which I bought yesterday
 
Like the word "red" in the first example, the dependent clause "which I bought yesterday" in thesecond example modifies the noun "coat." Note that an adjective clause usually comes
after 
what itmodifies, while an adjective usually comes
before
.In formal writing, an adjective clause begins with the relative pronouns"who(m)," "that," or  "which." In informal writing or speech, you may leave out the relative pronoun when it is not the
Grammar NotesRelative Clausespag. 2/10
 
Student´s name:__________________________ Teacher: Jimena Castellión Date:________ 
English Department 
subject of the adjective clause, but you should usually include the relative pronoun in formal,academic writing:
informal
 The books people read were mainly religious.
formal
 The books
that
people read were mainly religious.
informal
 Some firefighters never meet the people they save.
formal
 Some firefighters never meet the people
whom
they save.
Here are some more examples of adjective clauses:
the meat
which they ate
was tainted
This clause modifies the noun "meat" and answers the question "which meat?".
about the movie
which made him cry
 
This clause modifies the noun "movie" and answers the question "which movie?".
they are searching for the one
who borrowed the book
 
The clause modifies the pronoun "one" and answers the question "which one?".
Did I tell you about the author 
whom I met
?
The clause modifies the noun "author" and answers the question "which author?".
 You can use a
relative pronoun
to link onephraseor clauseto another phrase or  clause. The relative pronouns are "who," "whom," "that," and "which."
Grammar Exercise: Adjective Clauses
Combine the two sentences to make one, using an adjective clause. For example,"I met Mary in the hall. She is a tour guide."becomes"I met Mary, who is a tour guide, in the hall."
1.The man was sick. He looked very pale.Correct answer(s):The man, who looked very pale, was sick.The man, who was sick, looked very pale.The man who looked very pale was sick.The man who was sick looked very pale.
2.
He was sitting in the emergency room. It was very crowded.
Grammar NotesRelative Clausespag. 3/10

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