What is a Relative Clause? (Also known as Adjective Clause)
A Relative Clause (or an Adjective Clause) is a dependent clause that acts as an adjective.
Relative clause examples:
- The girl whom we hired yesterday is brilliant.
“whom we hired yesterday” is the dependent clause. It modifies the noun, “the girl“. It acts as an adjective. Hence it is a relative clause.
There are two types of Relative Clauses:
1. Restrictive (or defining) relative clause.
Restrictive (or defining) relative clauses give essential information regarding someone or something. It is an integral part of the sentence. So it must not be separated from the sentence using commas.
Examples of Restrictive Relative clause:
- The man who sings now is an excellent saxophone player too.
“who sings now” is a defining relative clause as it defines the noun “man“, and it is an integral part of the sentence. If we remove this clause from the sentence, the sentence cannot give complete meaning. Such clauses should not be separated from the sentence using commas.
2. Non-Restrictive (non-defining) relative clause.
Non-Restrictive (non-defining) relative clauses do not give essential information. These clauses provide some additional information only. If we remove such clauses from the sentences, grammatically, there will be no incorrectness.
Examples of Non-Restrictive Relative clause:
- My sister, who is a good singer, can play the piano too.
“who is a good singer “is a non-Restrictive (non-defining) relative clause. When we write, “My sister,” it is clear who the person is. The relative clause here is giving additional information only. If we remove this clause from the sentence, the remaining portion of the sentence is grammatically correct. We use two commas to separate such a clause from the main clause.