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Adjective Clauses: Adjective Clauses (#1)

Dennis Oliver
Using Adjective Clauses (#1)

Adjective clauses (relative clauses) are like "sentences
inside sentences." The "job" of adjective clauses is to
modify (describe, identify, make specific) the noun
phrases that they follow. In their full forms, adjective
clauses have several parts: a relative pronoun (or, in
some cases, another kind of connecting word), a subject,
and a predicate (a verb and, often, other types of
words which follow it).

In adjective clauses, the relative pronoun is a kind of
connecting word: it joins the information in the clause
to the noun phrase that it follows. Without the adjective
clause, the meaning of the modified noun phrase (and
of the sentence) is unclear and incomplete.

Examples (full forms):

I know a person who / that can help you.
I know a person who(m) / that you can help.
I know a person whose advice I can trust.
I know a person to whom I can refer you. /
I know a person who(m) / that I can refer you to.

I want a car that / which gets good gas mileage.
I can't afford the car that / which I really want.



Types of Adjective Clauses


"Subject Pattern" Clauses

In this type of adjective clause, the relative
pronoun is the subject of the clause. Subject
pattern clauses can, however, modify both
subjects and objects of sentences:

The man who / that talked to us
was very friendly.

Do you know the man who / that
talked to us?


"Object Pattern" Clauses

In this type of adjective clause, the relative
pronoun is the object of the clause (but
an object pattern clause can modify both
subjects and objects of sentences):

The people who(m) / that we met
seemed very friendly.

The people to whom / that we were
speaking seemed very friendly. /
The people who(m) / that we were
speaking to seemed very friendly.

I recently saw the people to whom / that
we were talking. / I recently saw the people
who(m) / that we were talking to.


Clauses Showing Possession

Here, the relative pronoun is possessive
and is attached to another word in the
adjective clause:

The people whose names are called
will work the first shift.

Do you know the student whose brother
won a gold medal in the Olympics?

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