University of VictoriaIntroduction to IT English
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Adjective Clauses

Definition

An adjective clause is a dependent clause that modifies a noun. Adjective clauses are used to combine ideas from different sentences into one sentence. Adjective clauses are also called “relative clauses”.

Example

The company is owned by Isaac.
The company sells computers.

The company that sells computers (adjective clause) is owned by Isaac.

Explanation

An adjective clause —

  • gives additional information about a noun in the independent clause.
  • uses relative pronouns and question words to connect clauses in a sentence.
    Relative pronouns are: “that”, “which”, “who”, “whom”, and “whose”. Question words are “when” and “where”.
  • can use the relative pronoun as —
    • the subject of a verb.
    • the object of a verb.
    • the object of a preposition.
  • usually follows the noun that it modifies.
  • has special punctuation rules:
    • Use a comma to separate an adjective clause from the independent clause if the adjective clause is not 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.