What Are Adjective Clauses?
Adjective Clauses: Characteristics
Adjective Clauses: Structure
Adjective clauses can be formed using relative pronouns, relative adverbs, or prepositions.
With Relative Pronouns
Most commonly, an adjective clause begins with a relative pronoun. The relative pronoun connects a clause to a noun or pronoun. Relative pronouns are:
Take a look at some examples:
I spent two hours talking to Kim,
That's the man
Did you see the letter
Grammatical Function of Relative Pronouns
Relative pronouns can serve different grammatical functions in the sentence:
It was my friend
This is the boy
Elliptical Relative Pronoun
Sometimes, when the object of the relative clause is 'that', we can omit it without changing the meaning of the sentence. The technical name for a missing relative pronoun is an elliptical relative pronoun.
I like the cookies
With Relative Adverbs
Relative adverbs can be used at the beginning of a dependent clause to create a relative clause. When a relative adverb connects the dependent clause to a noun in the sentence, the resulting clause is called an adjective clause. Relative adverbs are:
Take a look at some examples:
Today was the day
This is the place
Just tell me the reason
In informal English, when the relative pronoun is the object of a preposition, you can put the preposition at the end of the clause. However, in formal English, the preposition is typically placed before the pronoun.
This is the book
It was Jack
Pay attention that in this example, 'that' has become 'whom'.
Essential vs. Non-Essential Adjective Clauses
The information provided by an adjective clause might be very important to the meaning of the sentence, or it might be unimportant and additional.
Essential Adjective Clauses
Essential (also called restrictive) adjective clauses contain information that is necessary to the meaning of the sentence. An essential adjective clause does not need any punctuation marks.
Do you know the people
In this example, the information in the adjective clause is essential, because without it, the sentence would simply say 'Do you know the people?'
A non-essential (also called nonrestrictive) adjective clause gives us extra information and omitting it would not change or damage the meaning of the sentence.
Non-essential adjective clauses are set apart from the rest of the sentence with a comma to indicate that they are less closely connected to the main clause. Pay attention to the examples:
I discussed it with my father,
In this example, the adjective clause gives extra information and is not necessary to the overall meaning of the sentence.
Adjective Clause vs. Adjective Phrase
An adjective clause has a subject and a verb. But, an adjective phrase does not need a subject and a verb.
This house is
an adjective phrase made of up an adverb (enough) and an adjective (big)
an adjective clause with a subject (he) and a verb (built)
An adjective clause (also called a relative clause) is a dependent clause that acts as a multi-word adjective modifying a noun or a pronoun. There are two different types of adjective clauses as follows:
- restrictive adjective clause
- non-restrictive adjective clause
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