Adjective Clause (Part One)

Skill: Grammar  

Category: General English & Academic English

Level: Upper Intermediate

Adjective Clause (Part One)

Adjective clauses have the same function as adjectives in which they modify or describe a noun in a sentence. Relative clause is another name of an adjective clause.

Example: Smith has an umbrella. (Umbrella is a noun)

It is a new umbrella. (New is an adjective which modifies the noun umbrella)

The umbrella which he is using is not his.

(Which he is using is an adjective clause which modifies umbrella. It is a clause because it has a subject (he) and also a predicate (is using). It is an adjective clause due to it modifies a noun)

Language Notes:

  1. An adjective clause starts with these words: who, whom, that, which, whose, where, when

Ex: I talked to a teacher who was very gentle.

  • An adjective clause sometimes may begin with no marker.

Ex: I received a gift I didn’t like.

  • Sometimes comma is used to separate adjective clause from rest of the sentence.

Ex: The company recruited Mr. Johnes, who was expert in business.

Relative Pronouns as Subject:

The relative pronouns who, which and that are used as the subject of adjective clause.

Ex: I admired the teacher. He helped me a lot.

  • I admired the teacher who helped me a lot. 
  • I admired the teacher that helped me a lot.

(Who and that are the subjects of the adjective clauses.)

Note: I admired the teacher = main clause

who helped me = adjective clause

Ex: The crayons are mine. They are in your bag.

  • The crayons that are in your bag are mine.
  • The crayons which are in your bag are mine.

Notice: who = used for people

            that = used for both people and things

            which= used for things

Exercise: Combine the two sentences with who or that.

  1. I know a boy. He works in a store.
  2. That boy is in my English class. He is singing loudly.
  3. We are living in an apartment. This apartment is very old.

Relative Pronoun as Object:

Use relative pronouns who(m), that and which as the object of adjective clause.


  1. The relative pronoun is possibly omitted when it is the object of the adjective clause.
  2. When the adjective clause is in the object form, whom is considered more formal than who.

Exercise: Combine the two sentences. Use the second sentence as the adjective clause.

1- The newspaper was great. You recommended I read it.

2- I didn’t like the computer. My friend insisted to buy it.

3- The movie was very interesting. We watched it last night.

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