9+ Relative Clause Examples – PDF

Anyone who’s interested in learning the fundamentals of the English language knows how complex the underlying concept of grammar and sentence structures can be.

Words aren’t just a group of letters joined together, but they serve as a primary element in developing a sentence. We use words to form sentences, sentences to compose paragraphs, and paragraphs to construct essay writings. But between the simple sentences and complex sentences that constitute our paragraphs, comes a group of related words containing a subject and a predicate or verb: clauses.

Defining and Non-Defining Relative Clause Example

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Exercise on Relative Clause Example

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Free Relative Clause Worksheet Example

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What You Should Know about Clauses

It’s easy to recognize a clause when you see one. For instance, though a close does not end with a punctuation, it can express a complete or an incomplete thought.

There are two main types of clauses: the independent clause and the dependent clause. An independent clause (or a main clause) follows a Subject + Verb = Complete Thought pattern. Take note that every sentence must consist of at least one main clause. Otherwise, it may be considered as a sentence fragment.

A dependent clause (or a subordinate clause), on the other hand, consists of a group of words with both a subject and a verb that do not convey a complete thought. Instead, it follows a unique pattern with a Subordinating Conjunction + Subject + Verb = Incomplete Thought. Since a dependent clause can never stand on its own, it must be joined with a main clause to communicate a sensible message to its receiver. You may also see clause examples.

Additionally, subordinate clauses are also classified into three different categories, namely noun clauses, adverb clauses, and relative or adjective clauses, which shall be discussed later on in the article.

To understand how these clauses are used, let’s take a look at the following examples:

Cameron is older than his sister.

The example above is an independent clause that can also be classified as a simple sentence. To turn this clause into a dependent clause, you can add subordinating conjunction or a dependent word to the beginning of the clause such as:

Because Cameron is older than his sister

Once the conjunction “because” is added to the clause, it no longer makes sense knowing that there is something missing in the expression. To fix this, you can either remove the conjunction or attach a main clause to the example. You may also like subordinate clause examples.

Because Cameron is older than his sister, he likes to boss her around. 

By combining an independent clause with one or more dependent clauses, you can turn a simple sentence into a complex sentence similar to the example provided above.

Printable Relative Clause Worksheet Example

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Relative Clause Example

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Relative Clause Exercise Example

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Relative Clause Sample Worksheet

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What Is a Relative Clause?

A relative clause is a dependent clause used to provide additional information in a sentence by defining the noun given. This may also be referred to as an adjective clause, an adjectival clause, or a relative construction. This usually adapts, describes, or modifies a noun or a noun phrase, and is introduced by a relative pronoun (that, which, who, whom, whose) or a relative adverb (why, when, where). You may also see subordinate clause examples.

Defining and Non-Defining Relative Clauses

When defining a relative clause, it’s important to point its two primary types: the defining (or restrictive) relative clauses and the non-defining (or non-restrictive) relative clauses.

A defining relative clause supplies essential information about the noun to which it is referring to in the sentence. One thing to take note of is that the clause cannot be taken away from the sentence without affecting its meaning; otherwise, the remaining words may communicate something different than what the writer intended. You may also like adverb clause examples.

Let’s take this for example.

It reminded him of the brownies that his grandmother used to bake.

If we eliminate the clause being highlighted in the sentence, though it would still convey a complete thought, the idea of the sentence would be less specific and it would not make actual sense. Instead, this would leave readers wondering, “What brownies did it remind him of?” You may also check out compound sentences – writing methods & examples.

On the contrary, non-defining relative clauses provide additional information about a noun. Since the clause is nothing more than a mere accessory in the sentence, it can be dropped without affecting the meaning or structure of the given general statement.

The items inside the vault, which is believed to consist of family heirlooms, were stolen by German thieves.

Once we remove the highlighted clause in the example, the sentence would still make perfect sense. Providing a bit of background context about the noun is a common strategy that writers use to describe a noun even further without changing the overall though of a sentence. You may also see balanced sentences — usage and examples.

Take note that we can easily distinguish a defining relative clause from a non-defining relative clause by the simple use of a comma. If a comma or commas are used to separate the clause from the rest of the sentence, then the clause is simply non-defining. Otherwise, it would be a defining relative clause. You may also like conditional sentence – definition and examples.

1. To Post-Modify a Noun

Relative clauses may be used in various ways. For one, we use relative clauses to post-modify a noun. This is done to provide specifics about the person or thing we are referring to in a sentence. The relative pronouns who, which, whose, and that are used to introduce these clauses. You may also check out exculpatory clause examples.

As a Subject

In this category, the relative pronoun IS the subject of the sentence, therefore we do not repeat the subject after it has already been mentioned.

Examples:

  • Isn’t that the guy who sat beside you in English Literature class?
  • The firefighters said that the incident that happened last night was bound to happen.
  • The radio reported that the bear which killed its keeper has been put down.

As an Object of a Clause

For this category, the relative pronoun acts as the object of the clause.

Examples:

  • You shouldn’t believe everything that you read on the Internet.
  • The condo unit that we rented in Los Angeles was fully furnished.
  • The weather was certainly the thing which I enjoyed most about our vacation.

In most cases, when a relative pronoun is the object of its clause, it’s acceptable to leave it out.

  • You shouldn’t believe everything you read on the Internet.
  • The condo unit we rented in Los Angeles was fully furnished.
  • The weather was certainly the thing I enjoyed most about our vacation.

You might be interested in simple sentence examples.

As an Object of a Preposition  

Once a relative pronoun is used as the object of a preposition in the sentence, the preposition is usually placed after the verb.

Examples:

  • Who was the man who you were talking toOR Who was the man you were talking to?
  • That’s the school that my sister goes toOR That’s the school my sister goes to.
  • I haven’t watched the movie which you were talking aboutOR I haven’t watched the movie you were talking about.

Keep in mind that when the pronouns who, which, or whose are used in the sentence, they sometimes come at the beginning of the clause. You may also see fused sentence — examples and corrections.

2. Times and Places

The relative adverbs when and where to indicate time and place respectively are also highly recommended to provide clarity in the statement.

Examples: 

  • Do you remember the place where we had our first date? OR Do you remember the place we had our first date?
  • My mother’s birthday is the day when the Great Earthquake struck San Francisco. OR My mother’s birthday is the day the Great Earthquake struck San Francisco.

Even if the relative pronoun or relative adverb from each clause has been omitted, it can still be classified as a relative clause due to its function in the sentence. You may also like compound sentence—usage and examples.

3. To Provide Additional Information

As previously mentioned, a relative clause may be used to tell us something more about a person or thing being referred to in the sentence. The relative clause may be categorized as a defining or non-defining relative clause, depending on how it is used in the sentence. You may also check out cumulative sentence examples.

4. To Quantify with Relative Pronouns

We can also use quantifiers and numbers with relative pronouns. This can be used as a subject, object, or object of a preposition.

For example:

She has three brothers, two of whom are doctors.

Expressions such as many of whom, most of whom, one of which, none of whom, some of which, lots of whom, and two of which are also examples of quantifiers and numbers combined with relative pronouns to form a relative clause. You might be interested in parallel sentences—structure and examples.

Relative Clause Worksheet Example

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Simple Relative Clause Worksheet Example

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Teaching Relative Clauses Example

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Examples of Relative Clauses

  1. I’m looking for a secretary that can work under pressure and use a computer well.
  2. She has a son who is in the army.
  3. We bought a mansion, which is 200 years old, for over a $10 million.
  4. I sent a postcard that arrived five weeks later.
  5. The woman that my brother is going to marry is from New Zealand.
  6. The caregiver who my grandpa liked lives in New Hampshire.
  7. My mother’s house, which I grew up in, was demolished the other day.
  8. The photographer called to Queen Elizabeth, who looked irritated by the gesture.
  9. Last week I bought a new mobile phone, which does not function now.
  10. My stepsister, who I grew up with, knows a lot about motorbikes and cars.

Learning the purpose and proper use of clauses gives us the opportunity to enhance our way of writing in more ways than one. Instead of writing paragraphs upon paragraphs of short sentences, we can easily write a more detailed composition that accurately expresses our thoughts in such a way that readers may still comprehend.

Going beyond one’s expectations in writing by joining different types of clauses together can help us connect with readers in a more accurate and interesting manner.

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