Clauses are made of subjects and verbs that may need another clause to be completely meaningful. Adjective clauses function as the adjectives of sentences.
What Are Adjective Clauses?
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.
Adjective Clauses: Characteristics
- are dependent clauses: they have a subject and a verb, but they cannot stand alone
- typically start with a relative pronoun
- give us a description of a noun or pronoun
- come after the noun they modify
Adjective Clauses: Structure
Let us begin by studying how an adjective clause is created:
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 take different grammatical functions in the sentence:
It was my friend
This is the boy
Elliptical Relative Pronoun
Sometimes when 'that' is the object of the relative clause, we can omit it. The technical name for a missing relative pronoun is an elliptical relative pronoun.
I like the cookies
With Relative Adverbs
relative adverbs can appear at the beginning of relative clauses. If they connect the dependent clause to a noun in the sentence, they are called adjective clauses. Relative adverbs are:
Take a look at some examples:
Today was the day
This is the place
Just tell me the reason
Whenever the relative pronoun is the object of a preposition in informal English, you can end the clause with the preposition. However, in formal English, it is correct to place the preposition before the pronoun.
This is the book
It was Jack
Pay attention that in this example, 'that' has become 'whom.'
Adjective Clauses: Placement
Adjective clauses almost always come right after the nouns they modify.
Subject and Verb in Adjective Clauses
Every adjective clause must contains a subject and a verb. However, they are not a complete sentence by itself. Their only job is to describe and modify the noun or pronoun in the sentence.
Essential vs. Non-Essential Adjective Clauses
The information described in an adjective clause can be very important to the meaning of the sentence, or it can be not important at all.
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 the meaning of the sentence is understood without it.
A non-essential adjective clause begins with a comma to show that it is not as strongly connected to the rest of the sentence.
I discussed it with my father,
In this example, the adjective clause gives extra information, but it is not necessary to understand the 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.
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
- What Are Adjective Clauses?
- Adjective Clauses: Characteristics
- Subject and Verb in Adjective Clauses
- Adjective Clause vs. Adjective Phrase