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Relative clause

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  • Relative clause helps define or give us extra/ additional information about things or people we’re talking about.
  • Relative clause starts with relative pronouns (who, which, that, whose, whom) or relative adverbs (where, when, why).

Relative pronouns/ adverbs

Meanings

who

Refer to people

which

 Refer to things or animals

that

Refer to people, animals or things (can replace which or who, informal)

whose

Refer to possession

whom

Refer to a people, used instead of who if who is the object.

where

Refer to places

when

Refer to time

why

Refer to reasons

Pattern

RELATIVE CLAUSE

Pattern 1

RELATIVE PRONOUN/ ADVERB + SUBJECT + VERB

 Examples

 The present which he gave me was just amazing.

That memorable moment was the time when he kissed me for the first time. 

Jack sent me a job offer that I couldn’t decline.  

Pattern 2

RELATIVE PRONOUN AS SUBJECT + VERB

Examples

The girl who is standing next to John is my younger sister.

Venus flytrap is a plant which traps insects.

Henry is a man who is very kind and friendly.

There are two types of relative clause: defining and non-defining relative clause.

1. Defining relative clauses

  • Defining relative clauses add detail about a particular noun that is defined. They give essential/ important information about the people, things being referred to.
  • Without defining relative clause, the meanings would not remain the same.
  • Venus flytrap is a plant which traps insects.
  • This was the evidence which greatly affected the case.
  • I am going to show you a video which was made by the most famous American film director.

Note:

  • The pronouns who, which can be replaced by that in spoken language.
  • We don’t use comma in defining relative clauses.
  • Venus flytrap is a plant which (that) traps insects.
  • Venus flytrap is a plant, which traps insects.
  • This was the evidence which (that) greatly affected the case.
  • This was the evidence, which (that) greatly affected the case.

2. Non-defining relative clauses

  • Non-defining relative clauses give extra/ non-essential information about people or things. It does not affect the meanings of the whole sentence.
  • Without defining relative clause, the meanings would remain the same.
  • Mr. David, who is an inspiring teacher, won the Global teacher prize 2018.
  • I’ve just come back from England, which is a very beautiful country.
  • My two puppies, which were only 6 days old, are taken care of very carefully.

Note:

  • We don’t use that for non-defining relative clause.
  • We always use comma in non-defining relative clauses.
  • Mr. David, who is an inspiring teacher, won the Global teacher prize 2018.
  • Mr. David that is an inspiring teacher, won the Global teacher prize 2018.
  • I’ve just come back from England, which is a very beautiful country.
  • I’ve just come back from England which is a very beautiful country.

 

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