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Grammar and StructureGRAMMAR & STRUCTURE — Examples
Adjective Clauses

 
 

Examples of sentences with adjective clauses:

Examples

Explanation

Tom helped the old man.

The old man lives next door.

Combined sentence with adjective clause:

Tom helped the old man who lives next door.

Independent clause: Tom helped the old man

Adjective clause: who lives next door

When you combine sentences using an adjective clause:

  • the adjective clause gives additional information about the noun (or noun phrase) in the independent clause, and
  • the relative pronoun replaces the noun (or noun phrase) in the dependent clause.

That woman who is my neighbour is a good cook.

(That woman is a good cook. She is my neighbour.)

OR

That woman that is my neighbour is a good cook.

The book which I read last week isn't very good.

(The book isn't very good. I read it last week.)

OR

The book that I read last week isn't very good.

I met the girl whose picture was in the newspaper last week.

(I met the girl. Her picture was in the newspaper last week.)

That is the house where I grew up.

(That is the house. I grew up there [in that house].)

Mary was only fourteen years old when she graduated from high school.

(Mary was only fourteen years old. She graduated from high school at that time.)

Use relative pronouns and question words to connect adjective clauses to the main clause of a sentence. Each relative pronoun and question word is used for a specific purpose:

who / whom - for people
which - for things
that - for people and things
whose - for possession (usually for people, but also for things)
where - for place
when - for time

The sentences in parentheses show the two sentences that have been combined into one sentence with an adjective clause.

That woman who is my neighbour is a good cook.

Relative pronoun as the subject of a verb: The woman is my neighbour.

The book which I read last week isn't very good.

The book I read last week isn't very good.

Relative pronoun as the object of a verb: I read the book.

The relative pronoun may be deleted when used as an object.

Jane's mother is the woman that we talked about .

Jane's mother is the woman we talked about.

Relative pronoun as the object of a preposition: We talked about the woman.

The relative pronoun may be deleted when used as an object.

Mary, who is my neighbour, is a good cook.

Mary is the subject. The subject is identified. Therefore, the adjective phrase is not needed to identify the subject.

Use a comma to separate an adjective clause from the independent clause if the adjective clause is not needed to identify the subject.

The woman who is my neighbour is a good cook.

The woman is the subject. The subject is NOT identified. Therefore, the adjective phrase is needed to identify the subject.

Do not use a comma to separate the adjective clause from the independent clause if the adjective clause is needed to identify the subject.