Topic: Relative clause

In this topic we look at the relative clause: a special kind of subordinate clause which typically relates back to a preceding noun and gives more information about it. An example is I met a Chinese guy who was studying medicine.

Relative clauses in composition

In this activity, students will look at examples of sentences and turn them into one sentence that incorporates a relative clause with a relative pronoun. You can review relative clauses and relative pronouns using the Englicious glossary and 'Professional development' pages, found in the 'Content type' menu to the left.

Restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses

In this lesson, we look at the difference between two kinds of relative clause. A relative clause is a special kind of subordinate clause, and like other subordinate clauses it is introduced by a subordinating conjunction. More specifically, the introduction of a relative clause can be carried out by a relative pronoun.

The two types of relative clauses we will be looking at are:

Restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses: Activity 1

In what situation would somebody use the clause the car which is yellow? For example: the car which is yellow is mine, the car which is blue is yours and the car which is red is John’s. If I say the car which is yellow, am I giving you more information about a particular car we were already talking about by telling you its colour – or am I helping you to identify the car by telling you that it is the yellow one rather than the red one or the blue one?

Restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses: Activity 2

Sort these examples of relative clauses from the ICE-GB corpus according to whether you think they are restrictive (identifying) or non-restrictive (adding). Were there any cases where you had difficulty deciding which reading to choose? What clues did you use to help you decide?

Restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses: Activity 3

Non-restrictive relative clauses are often – although not always – surrounded by commas, which separate the additional information that the relative clause contains. In the following examples, see if you can put the commas in the right place to separate out the restrictive relative.

Y6 GPaS Test: Identify the relative clause

Identify the relative clause in each of the following examples. Click on the first and last word of the relative clause to select or deselect it.

Clauses: Relative clauses

Look at the highlighted clauses in these examples. What do they add to the meaning of the sentences?

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