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វេយ្យាករណ៍

Adjective Clauses

 

 

First, lets remember that adjectives modify (or describe) nouns and pronouns.

 

 

Example:

 

Intelligent students understand adjectives.

(The word “intelligent” is an adjective because it describes the noun “students.”)

 

 

But adjectives are not always single words. Sometimes they are clauses:

 

Example:

 

 Students who are intelligent understand adjectives.

(The adjective clause is underlined. It is an “adjective” clause because it describes the noun “students.”)

 

 

Remember

A clause is a group of related words with a subject and verb.

 Remember

Adjective clauses are always dependent clauses.

 

 

Adjective clauses, like adverb clauses, are introduced by dependent signals.

 

If you want to be considered cool and impress members of the opposite sex, remember this:

 Subordinating conjunctions introduce adverb clauses and relative pronouns introduce adjective clauses.

 

 

OK, OK, so that wont impress most members of the opposite sexonly English majors.

If you happen to be in love with a botanist, a cocktail waitress or a rock singer, it will be OK just to remember this:

 Adverb and adjective clauses are both introduced by dependent signals, but those signals are different.

 And now the good news (finally!). . .

 

There are only five words which introduce adjective clauses.

 

They are called relative pronouns because they relate the clause to something in the sentence.

 

If you find yourself not caring a hoot in a far country about that, just remember that there are only five dependent signals which introduce adjective clauses. They are:

Who

Whom

Whose

Which

That

 

A Word of Caution:

Sometimes these words function as dependent signals, but sometimes they dont.

 

Example:

How did you come up with that?

(“That” doesn�t introduce a clause. It identifies something. If you really want to know, it is a demonstrative pronoun. But don�t worry your noggin about that now. Just be aware that these dependent signals can sometimes do other things.)

Lets look at a couple of examples:

 

 

I love sentences which extol the virtues of English teachers.

(The adjective clause is underlined. It modifies the object “sentences.”)

 

Students whom I admire want to become English teachers.

(Again, the adjective clause is underlined and modifies the subject “students.”)

 

 

Remember

A noun is a subject or an object, so adjectives will always modify subjects or objects. 

Lets look at these sentences a little more closely.

 I love sentences which extol the virtues of English teachers.

(The verb of this clause is “extol.” The subject is “which” because it stands for “sentences.”)

 Students whom I admire want to become English teachers.

(The verb of this clause is “admire.” The subject of the clause is “I.” The object is “whom.”)

  

If you are well fed, well rested, and psychologically at peace with yourself, you have no doubt come to an astonishing realization. 

Dependent signals which introduce adjective clauses perform a double duty. They introduce the clause and they also function inside the clause as a subject or object. 

 

Therefore, I call these little devils (sorry, I mean these relative pronouns), double duty dependent signals.

 Again, the double duty dependent signals which introduce adjective clauses are:

Who

Whom

Whose

Which

That

 But what about these examples?

 

The grade I received was a shock.

(We don�t see any dependent signal do we? But we know we have two clauses because we have two subject-verb combinations�”grade/was,” “I/received.”)

 

 

The book I borrowed was full of grammatical wisdom.

(No dependent signal here either. But we have two subject verb combinations�”book/was” and “I/borrowed”�so we know we have two clauses.)

 Look at them now:

 

The grade [that] I received was a shock.

 

The book [that] I borrowed was full of grammatical wisdom.

(Here�s the point. Sometimes the dependent signal [usually “that”] is implied. Mentally insert it, and the sentence will be easier to analyze.)

 Theres only one more thing about adjective clauses that you need to know. Its something youve never, ever understood, and Im going to explain it so that youll never, ever forget it. (So try to contain your joy!)

 

Some adjective clauses need to be set off by commas and others dont.

 

Now heres the part youve never understoodnon-restrictive clauses need commas and restrictive clauses dont.

 

“What in the Sam Hill is the difference?” you say.

 

It is this:

Some adjective clauses are like gossip, they provide additional detail about someone (or something) whose identity we already know. Put commas around those. 

Examples:

 My English teacher, who wears old fashioned ties, is laughed at by the students.

(The adjective clause is underlined. It doesn�t identify the English teacher; it just provides a gossipy sort of detail about him. Set these off with commas.)

 

 

My English book, which is a monument of boredom, is used mainly as a door stop.

(Once again, the adjective clause is underlined. It doesn�t identify the English book, it just provides a gossipy, editorial comment about it. Set this clause off with a comma.)

 Now take a look at these: 

The English teachers that I like best forget to go to class.

(This isn�t pure gossip any longer. The writer doesn�t like all English teachers equally well. The adjective clause identifies which ones he likes best. Because it helps identify, don�t set if off with commas. )

 

Anyone who reads all of this will go away happier and wiser.

(Once again, this clause identifies who will go away happier and wiser. It�s not gossip, it�s essential information, so don�t put commas around it.)

 

 

Return to grammar review

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Examples of Adjective Clauses

Adjectives modify nouns and pronouns, giving a description or more information. An adjective clause is simply a group of words with a subject and a verb that provide a description. The clause starts with a pronoun such as who, whom, that, or which or an adverb such as when, where and why.

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Adjective Clauses In Action

Adjective clauses do not change the basic meaning of the sentence. In some cases, when they provide more information into a sentence, they need to be set off with commas.

Here are several examples of sentences with the adjective clauses underlined:

  • Pizza,which most people love, is not very healthy.
  • The peoplewhose names are on the listwill go to camp.
  • Grandpa remembers the old dayswhen there was no television. 
  • Fruitthat is grown organicallyis expensive.
  • Studentswho are intelligentget good grades.
  • Eco-friendly carsthat run on electricitysave gas.
  • I know someonewhose father served in World War II.
  • Making noise when he eats is the main reasonwhy Sue does not like to eat with her brother.
  • The kidswho were called firstwill have the best chance of getting a seat.
  • Running a marathon,a race of twenty-six miles, takes a lot of training.
  • I enjoy telling people about Janet Evanovichwhose latest book was fantastic.
  • The peoplewaiting all night outside the Apple storeare trying to purchase a new iPhone.
  • “Hewho can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in aweis as good as dead.” – Albert Einstein
  • “Thosewho do not complainare never pitied.” – Jane Austen
  • “People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thoughtwhich they avoid.” – Søren Kierkegaard
  • “Never go to a doctorwhose office plants have died.” – Erma Bombeck

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Turning Adjective Clauses into Phrases

An adjective clause with a subject pronoun – such as which, that or who – can also be shortened into a phrase.

You can shorten an adjective clause in two ways:

  1. Omit the subject pronoun and verb.
  2. Omit the subject pronoun and change the verb to the form ending in “ing.”

Here are some examples of how to create an adjective phrase:

  • Adjective Clause: The books, which are lost, are not really necessary.
  • Adjective Phrase: The books lost are not really necessary.

 

  • Adjective Clause: The girl who is running is my best friend.
  • Adjective Phrase: The girl running is my best friend.

 

  • Adjective Clause: His share of the money, which consists of $100,000, was given to him on Monday.
  • Adjective Phrase: His share of the money, consisting of $100,000, was given to him on Monday.

 

  • Adjective Clause: Something that smells bad may be rotten.
  • Adjective Phrase: Something smelling bad may be rotten.

 

Remember, the goal of an adjective clause is to add more information to a noun or a pronoun. You can add the information by including a few more words or by changing the adjective clause to a phrase.

At a certain point in your writing in English, you should be able to identify every sentence you write as simple, compound, or complex.  Two additional structures, adjective clauses and appositives, will give you a much greater sentence variety within which to accomplish your writing objectives.  This page contains a small amount of information about adjective clauses along with just ten very difficult exercises.  First, we will define what adjective clauses are and how they work.

An adjective clause is a dependent clause that modifies a noun.  It is possible to combine the following two sentences to form one sentence containing an adjective clause:              

The children are going to visit the museum.
They are on the bus.

The children who are on the bus are going to visit the museum.
                  | adjective clause |

In the sentence above, there are two other ways to write the sentence correctly using the second sentence as the adjective clause. 

The children that are on the bus are going to visit the museum.
The children       on the bus       are going to visit the museum.

Some other sentences can be combined into a sentence using adjective clauses in a variety of ways, and they are all correct.  Note the variety of ways in which the following two sentences can be combined.

The church is old.
My grandparents were married there.

The church where my grandparents were married is old.
The church in which my grandparents were married is old.
The church which my grandparents were married in is old.
The church that my grandparents were married in is old.
The church my grandparents were married in is old.

In the sentences above, the adjective clauses are underlined.  All answers are correct.  Note the use of the word “in” and how and where it is used.

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT PUNCTUATION

Managing simple, compound, and complex sentences, and then adding adjective clauses into the mix can result in some confusing situations regarding punctuation.  There are some specific rules when punctuation is permissible or required around adjective clauses (when the information in the adjective clause is non-essential information); however, in my composition classes, I insist that students NOT use commas around adjective clauses for several reasons.

First, non-essential information should generally be avoided in academic writing, at least in the short essays required for these composition classes.  Thus, not including the commas will more often be right than wrong.

Second, my Spanish speaking students have a natural tendency to write long sentences using many commas inappropriately.  By not using commas around adjective clauses, students can perhaps more readily recognize when a period is required.

Third, I believe it is easier to learn to apply commas later when they are required than the other way around.  Indiscriminate use of commas is a hard habit to undo in my experience.  Therefore do not use commas around adjective clauses, at least for one semester.

Are you ready to take the quiz?

This quiz is very difficult.  These sentences are actually the hardest I could find (in the sense that you need to know ALL the rules in order to get them all correct), so please follow the directions carefully.

1.  Do not use commas in any of the completed sentences.
2.  Make adjective clauses of the second sentence in every case.  (Obviously, any of these sentences could be written using the first sentence as the adjective clause; however, making adjective clauses of the second sentence is harder because it requires knowledge of all the “rules” of writing adjective clauses.)
3.  Spell correctly!  This quiz is “graded” by computer, so any spelling mistake or punctuation error, like forgetting a period at the end of a sentence, will be counted wrong.

Take the QUICK QUIZ now!

Finally, for those interested in more information about writing adjective clauses, a Google search of “adjective clauses” and “quiz” yields over 385 hits available here.

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