Object adjective clauses examples

05.05.2020
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Examples of Adjective Clauses

You're probably already familiar with adjectives. They modify nouns and pronouns, providing a description or information. Adjective clauses, however, are groups of words that contain a subject and a verb, and provide further description.

Adjective clauses begin with relative pronouns, including:

  • who

  • whom

  • whose

  • that

  • which

They may also begin with relative adverbs, such as:

  • when

  • where

  • why

Seems simple enough, right? Let's dive right into some different examples of adjective clauses. As soon as you see adjective clauses in action, you'll be able to spot them from a mile away.

Adjective Clauses in Action

Adjective clauses don't usually change the basic meaning of a sentence. Rather, they clarify the writer's intent.

Here's one thing to keep an eye out for. When adjective clauses add more information to a sentence, rather than just description, they often need to be set off with a comma.

Here are some example sentences with the adjective clause underlined:

  • Pizza, which most people love, is not very healthy.

  • Those people whose names are on the list will go to camp.

  • Grandpa remembers the old days when there was no television.

  • Fruit that is grown organically is expensive.

  • Students who are intelligent get good grades.

  • Eco-friendly cars that run on electricity help the environment.

  • I know someone whose father served in World War II.

  • The slurping noise he makes is the main reason why Sue does not like to eat soup with her brother.

  • The kids who were called first will have the best chance of getting a seat.

  • I enjoy telling people about Janet Evanovich, whose latest book was fantastic.

  • The store where the new phone was being sold had a huge line of people outside it.

  • "He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead." - Albert Einstein

  • "Those who do not complain are never pitied." - Jane Austen

  • "People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid." - Soren Kierkegaard

  • "Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died." - Erma Bombeck

Reducing Adjective Clauses to Phrases

An adjective clause that has a subject pronoun (which, that, or who) can also be shortened into an adjective phrase.

You can shorten an adjective clause in two ways:

Omit the subject pronoun and verb.

Omit the subject pronoun and change the verb so it ends in -ing.

Here are some examples to help you create an adjective phrase:

  • Adjective Clause: His share of the money, which consisted 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.

Be Descriptive

Remember, the goal of an adjective clause is to add more information to a noun or a pronoun. As you can see from the examples above, you can add information by including a longer adjective clause or tighten up a sentence by turning the adjective clause into an adjective phrase.

Either way, thanks to these descriptive guys, you'll be able to paint a more picturesque scene for your readers and help them fall into the story with enough description to make them feel like they're a part of it.

No matter where your adjective clauses take you, always remember they travel well with commas. More often than not, a comma is just the trick to set apart a non-essential adjective clause with elegance and grace.

Examples of Adjective ClausesExamples of Adjective Clauses
object adjective clauses examples
What is an Adjective Clause? | Adjective Clause Examples and Definition

What is an Adjective Clause?

A dependent, or subordinate, clause contains a subject and a verb or verb phrase but does not express a complete thought. As a result, it cannot stand alone as a sentence. Dependent clauses can function either as a noun clause, adjective clause, or adverb clause.

What Is an Adjective Clause?

An adjective clause is a dependent clause that, like an adjective, modifies a noun or pronoun. An adjective clause begin with words such as that, when, where, who, whom, whose, which, and why.

An essential (or restrictive) adjective clause provides information that is necessary for identifying the word it modifies. A nonessential (or nonrestrictive) adjective clause provides additional information about the word it modifies, but the words meaning is already clear. Nonessential clauses are always set off with commas.

When deciding whether to include the word that or which in an adjective clause, remember to use that for essential clauses and which for nonessential clauses:

Essential clause:

What is an Adjective Clause?

(That Lucas takes is an essential adjective clause. It contains the subject Lucas and the verb takes. The clause modifies the noun class, providing necessary information about it.)

Nonessential clause:

The house on the left, which belongs to Nicole, is up for sale.

(Which belongs to Nicole is a nonessential adjective clause. It contains the subject which and the verb belongs. The clause modifies the noun house, providing additional, nonessential information about it.)

Adjective Clause Examples

Adjective Clause Examples

(That I like the best is an adjective clause. It contains the subject I and the verb like. The clause modifies the noun beach.)

Mr. Jackson is the teacher who helped me with my math problems.

(Who helped me with my math problems is an adjective clause. It contains the subject who and the verb helped. The clause modifies the noun teacher.)

The bad weather is the reason why I decided to drive instead of walk.

(Why I decided to drive instead of walk is an adjective clause. It contains the subject I and the verb decided. The clause modifies the noun reason.)

Mia is the person whose family owns a horse ranch.

(Whose family owns a horse ranch is an adjective clause. It contains the subject family and the verb owns. The clause modifies the noun person.)

This is the park where we can walk the dogs.

(Where we can walk the dogs is an adjective clause. It contains the subject we and the verb phrase can walk. The clause modifies the noun park.)

Do you remember the time when we almost missed the swim meet?

(When we almost missed the swim meet is an adjective clause. It contains the subject we and the verb missed. The clause modifies the noun time.)

Guillermo went to the studio where he takes glassblowing lessons.

(Where he takes glassblowing lessons is an adjective clause. It contains the subject he and the verb takes. The clause modifies the noun studio.)

Max, who is Marissas older brother, just got back from a trip to Jamaica.

(Who is Marissas older brother is an adjective clause. It contains the subject who and the verb is. The clause modifies the noun Max.)

Monday is the day when I have my doctors appointment.

(When I have my doctors appointment is an adjective clause. It contains the subject I and the verb have. The clause modifies the noun day.)

Derek is the sibling to whom I am closest.

(To whom I am closest is an adjective clause. It contains the subject I and the verb am. The clause modifies the noun sibling.)

Related Topics:
Clause Overview
Dependent Clause
Independent Clause
Noun Clause
Relative Clause
Adverb Clause
Restrictive Clause
Nonrestrictive Clause
Elliptical Clause
All Grammar Terms



English Grammar: Adjective Clauses - Subject & Object Relative Pronouns

English Level: Intermediate, Upper-Intermediate

Language Focus: An introduction to relative clauses/adjective clauses that use subject and object relative pronouns.

Worksheet Download:adjective-clause-worksheet-esl.docx(scroll down to study the exercisesonline)

Jump to: Subject Relative Pronouns, Object Relative Pronouns, Final Exercises


Note: An adjective clause and relative clause are the same. We will use the word adjective clause.

This is the firstlesson on adjective clauses. There are three lessons.

Lesson 1: Makingadjective clauses with subject and object relative pronounsLesson 2: Usingthe relative pronounswhere, when, andwhich.Lesson 3: Punctuating adjective clauses

Introduction:Adjective Clauses (Relative Clauses)

Why is it called an adjective clause? Because adjective clauses modify (describe) nouns, just like adjectives. For example:

  • The tall man smiled. = tall is an adjective, modifying the noun man.
  • The man who had long hairsmiled. =who had long hair is an adjective clause that modifies the noun man.

Why Use Adjective Clauses?

When you use adjective clauses, you are able tocombine two sentences into one.A sentence with an adjective clause is called acomplex sentence. Good writers usea mix of simple sentences, compound sentences, and complex sentences.

Here are two simple sentences.

  • I study at a college. The collegeis downtown.

To make an adjective clause, we need to find two ideas in these sentences that refer to the same thing. What is the same in these two sentences? The word college is in both! So, instead of saying the wordtwice, we can replace one wordwith a relative pronoun and make an adjective clause.

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Find the two wordsthat are refer tothe same thing.

  • I study at a college. The collegeis downtown.

Step 2: Replace the secondword with a correctrelative pronoun (that/which/who/when/where)

  • I study at a college. The collegeWHICH is downtown.

Step 3: Move the whole {adjective clause} behind the noun it modifies.

  • I study at a college{whichis downtown}.

Thats it! Now you have a complex sentence. The adjective clause is which is downtown.

Before we go further, lets look at a table of the relative pronouns.

Relative Pronouns for Adjective Clauses

whosubject and object pronoun for people only. (*whom can beused as anobject relative pronoun.)

E.g. The man who(m)I saw was old.

thatsubject and object pronoun for people andthings.

E.g. The book that I saw was red.

whichsubject and object pronoun for things only.

E.g. The book, which I saw, was red.

whoseused for possessions.

E.g. The man whose house was for sale was old.

whereused for places.

E.g. The restaurant where we met was downtown.

whenused for times.

E.g. The day when we met was cloudy.

The first part of this lesson will focus on subject relative pronouns. These are: that/which/who.

Whats a Subject Relative Pronoun?

Look at these two simple sentences.

The womanis in my class. Shelikes tennis.

Step1: What do we have twice? The woman and sheare talking aboutthe same person, so we can combine the sentences using an adjective clause. In the second sentence, She is the subject of the sentence, so we will use one of the subject relative pronouns (that/which/who) to replace it. (We cannot use whose/where/when/whomto replace subjects.)

So, lets follow our steps.

Step 1: Find the two wordsthat refer to thethe same thing/person.

  • The womanis in my class. Shelikes tennis.

Step 2: Replace the secondword with a relative pronoun (well use a subject relative pronoun that/which/who)

  • The womanis in my class. SheWHO/THAT likes tennis.

Step 3: Move the whole {adjective clause} behind the noun it modifies. These two sentences are both correct:

  • The woman{who likes tennis} is in my class.
  • The woman{that likes tennis} is in my class.

Were done!

Lets practice. I will give you some sentencesand you canfollow the three steps to create an adjective clause. Remember to move the adjective clause behind the noun it modifies!

Exercise #1 Creating Adjective Clauses with Subject Relative Pronouns

Change the second sentence into an adjective clause.

Adjective Clauses with Object Relative Pronouns

Now its time for the second part of the lesson. Lets look at two more sentences.

The woman is in my class. I like her.

Step 1: What is the same in both sentences? The woman and her. They both refer to the same thing (the woman).

The woman is in my class. I like her.

If we look at the second word, her, we can see that it isnot the subject of the sentence. It is the object! (I like her object of the verb like). For objects, we have to use an object relative pronoun, which are the following:

  • who/whom: for people (whom is a little old-fashioned, but its correct)
  • that: for people and things
  • (nothing): for people and things
  • which: for things

Nothing? Yes. We do not need a relative pronoun if we are replacing the object of a verb.

Lets me show youby continuing withour example.

Step 2: Replace the secondword with a relative pronoun (who/whom/that/(nothing)/which)

The woman is in my class. I like her who(m)/that/(nothing).

Because we are making an adjective clause with the object of a sentence, we have to add one more step.

*Step 3*: Move the object relative pronoun to the beginning of the second sentence/clause.

The woman is in my class. who(m)/that/(nothing)I like her.

Step 4: Move the whole {adjective clause} behind the noun it modifies.

  • The woman {whom I like} is in my class.
  • The woman {who I like} is in my class.
  • The woman {that I like} is in my class.
  • The woman {I like} is in my class.

They are all correct!


Lets combine another sentence but lets do it witha thing.

Yesterday, I saw some nice shoes at the mall.I want to buy them soon.

Step 1: Look for two words that refer to the same thing.

Yesterday, I saw some nice shoes at the mall.I want to buy them soon.

Step 2: Replace the second word with a relative pronoun

Yesterday, I saw some nice shoes at the mall.I want to buy themwhich/that/(nothing) soon.

Step 3: Move the relative pronoun to the beginning of the second sentence/clause.

Yesterday, I saw some nice shoes at the mall.which/that/(nothing)I want to buy themsoon.

Step 4: Move the whole {adjective clause} behind the noun it modifies. Now the final sentence looks like this:

  • Yesterday, I saw some nice shoes{whichI want to buysoon} at the mall.
  • Yesterday, I saw some nice shoes{thatI want to buysoon} at the mall.
  • Yesterday, I saw some nice shoes{I want to buysoon} at the mall.

Thats it.

Shoes on the line in ESL landShoes on the line in ESL land

These shoes are old. Someone has thrown themon the line. = These shoes {that someone has thrown on the line} are old.

Now its time for you to practice.

Exercise #2 Making Adjective Clauses with Objects

Exercise #3 Add the Correct Relative Pronoun

In the next exercise, some of theadjective clauses use a subject relative pronoun and some use an object relative pronoun. Decide which to use.

For example:

I gave a dollar to the man ___ was on the corner.

If we look at ___ was on the corner, we can see that it is missing a subject, so we need a subject relative pronoun (who/that).

I gave a dollar to the man ___ I see every day.

If we look at ___ I see everyday, we can see that there is already a subject (I). Also,the man is whom you see (he is the object of the verb). So we use an object relative pronoun (whom/that/(nothing)).

Give it a try. Click here to see a list of the relative pronouns again.

  • Subject relative pronouns = who, that
  • Object relative pronouns = that, whom, which, (nothing)
Hes the only studentknew the answer.Did you see the paintingI bought in Paris?This is the only bridgegoes to the island.There are many childrenare not able to go to school.The Italian restaurantI went to last night has great dessert.

Check Answers

Combine the Simple Sentences to make a Subject or Object Relative Clause

I hope this lesson on adjective clauses (relative clauses) has been useful. Please view the next lesson to learn about the relative pronouns where, when, and whose.

If you have anyquestions or if you find a mistake, please leave a comment below.

Matthew Barton (copyright) / Creator of Englishcurrent.com

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