Adjective Clause

Adjective clause:

It is a group of words in a sentence that has a subject and a predicate and does the work of an adjective. The Adjective clause is also known as relative clause because these clauses use relative pronouns in them(in most of the cases).

Consider the following example:

  1. This is the lady who teaches my children.
  2. Mr. ABC, whose behavior was immoral, was fired this morning.
  3. We went to the restaurant, where we had met for the first time.

In the above sentences, the clauses in italics are adjective clauses because they are modifying or giving more information about a noun or a pronoun in the sentence.

Below are some relative clauses and their general uses:

Relative Pronouns
Relative Pronouns

There are three ways an adjective clause can be used in a sentence:

  1. Defining Adjective Clause.
  2. Non-defining Adjective Clause.
  3. Situational Adjective clause.

Now let’s read about them in detail:

1. Defining Adjective Clause:

This type of clause in a sentence gives information about a noun or a pronoun. This Adjective clause cannot be left out, because without it the sentence would be incomplete.

For example:

  • The lady who works at your office is a part-time yoga trainer.
  • He is the boy who scored the highest goals.
  • This is the place where we found this bag.
  • The reason why the plan did not work is obvious.
  • The book whose title is ‘The Alchemist’ is a fictional story.
  • The teacher from whom I borrowed the book is on leave today.

In the above sentences, if you leave out the Adjective clauses, either the sentence will lose the sense or you will be confused about whom the sentence is about. No comma is used with this type of Adjective clause.

In different grammar books, you may find this category by different names such as: identifying, essential or restrictive.

2. Non-Defining Adjective Clause:

A ‘non-defining clause’ in a sentence gives you additional information about the noun or the pronoun. If you leave out this additional information, the reader or the listener would still know what the sentence is talking about.

Such additional information or ‘non-defining clause’ is separated by commas in a sentence. These are also known as non-identifying, non-essential, or non-restrictive.

For example:

  • Mrs. Rodriguez, who works at your office, is a part-time fitness trainer.
  • Timothy, who scored the highest goals, was awarded by the Principal.
  • Dev went to learn filmmaking in California, where some of the world’s best movies are made.
  • The restaurant where we met, where I used to eat, is still serving great meals.

3. Situational Adjective clause:

This type of Adjective clause modifies the whole phrase(or another clause) instead of a single word.

For example:

  • Jason gave his wife their first photo together as a gift, which made her emotional.
  • Timothy passed the trails, which means he will attend the practice sessions.

In the above example, the whole situation is modified by the Adjective clause coming just after it.

Leaving out the Relative Pronoun:

Should not drop – In case of formal written English.

You can drop – In case of informal or spoken English.

1. ‘Who’, ‘whom’, ‘that’, and ‘which’ can be dropped if the information is about the ‘object’ of the sentence, but you can not drop when it is about the ‘Subject’ of the sentence.

For example:

  • The girl who works at the bookstore is a university student.
  • The novel that is named ‘The Alchemist’ is written by Paulo Coelho.
  • The doctor (whom) I got the prescription from is not in the hospital.
  • I lost the pen drive (that) I borrowed.

The bracket in the last two examples above shows that the relative pronoun can be dropped because both represent the object of the sentence. Whereas in the first two examples, it can not be dropped.

2. ‘Where’, ‘of which’, and ‘whose’ cannot be dropped.

For example:

  • The girl whose purse was stolen called today.
  • I read the book the title of which is ‘The Kite Runner’.
  • This is the bookstore where I met Salina.

3. ‘When’ and ‘why’ can be dropped.

For example:

  • Friday was the day (when) I met Salina.
  • That is the reason (why) I was at the bookstore.

This is all about the adjective clause. So you learned following aspects of an Adjective Clause:

  1. Defining Adjective Clause.
  2. Non-Defining Adjective Clause.
  3. Situational Adjective Clause. and
  4. Where can you drop Relative Pronouns?

Thanks for reading:)

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