Adjective Clauses – Examples

We know that in English grammar, to form a complex sentence, we need clauses. But to form clauses, we need to first adhere to the elements that mainly include the parts of speech such as nouns, adverbs, adjectives, pronouns, etc. When we combine these parts together, we get different types of clauses. And then, these clauses help us create complex and complete sentences that convey our complete ideas.

In a general understanding, clauses are the group of words that has some meaning to them.

Mainly, there are two broad divisions of clauses, namely independent clauses, and dependent clauses. But that is not all. In this post, we will focus on a different type of clause that appears as a classification under the dependent clause. That is the adjective clause.

As the name already suggests, adjective clauses are simply the type of clause that acts as an adjective in a sentence. They basically aim to provide essential and non-essential information about the noun to the readers. Take a look at the points below to have a better idea.

What are Adjective Clauses?

By definition, adjective clauses can be understood as a type of dependent clause that has a primary aim to work as an adjective by providing information about the noun of the sentence. Since it is a dependent clause, it can never stand alone and express a complete thought. It will always depend on the noun present in the independent or the main clause of a sentence.

In simple words, adjective clauses are the type of clause that describes a noun in a sentence. Even though they are a group of words, they can function as an adjective. They describe a noun in groups rather than in a single word. So, we can say that an adjective clause is a collection of words that work together to modify a noun or even a pronoun.

Let us look at some examples:

  • There is a specific fruit that one should eat regularly.
  • The red skirt, which used to be my sister’s, was lying behind the wardrobe.
  • The flowers that we planted last week have grown.
  • Our teacher, who is very tall, is absent today.

Difference between Adjective clauses and Relative pronouns

Adjective clauses are also known as relative clauses because they usually begin with a relative pronoun that acts as a connection between the clause and the main noun. As we can notice in the examples given above, each relative pronoun preceding the adjective clauses is trying to indicate the relationship between the clause and the antecedent.

By relative pronouns, we mean words like; that, who, where, whose, which, when, and whom, and why. For example:

  • People who are dumb will never follow the rules.
  • Ice cream, which we all love, is not healthy.

Essential and Non-Essential Clauses

Now, adjective clauses can be either essential or non-essential. That means:

When an adjective clause is providing information that one needs, it is essential. In such cases, the clause is directly connected to the sentence. For example:

I hate children that talk too much.

But when an adjective clause is providing just additional information about the noun, they are non-essential. Here, the noun is already specified, and the clause is separated with commas. For example:

The blue dress, which my mom brought yesterday, is already dirty.

So, we have adjective clauses that provide information that can be both essential and non-essential. However, their main aim is to modify the noun.

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