Adjectives modify nouns and pronouns, giving a description or more information. An adjective clause is simply a group of words with a subject and a verb that provide a description. The clause starts with a relative pronoun such as who, whom, whose, that, or which or a relative adverb such as when, where and why.
Adjective Clauses In Action
Adjective clauses do not change the basic meaning of the sentence. In some cases, when they add more information to a sentence, they need to be set off with commas.
Here are several examples of sentences with the adjective clauses underlined:
- Pizza, which most people love, is not very healthy.
- The 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 poeple 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.” – Søren Kierkegaard
- “Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.” – Erma Bombeck
Turning Adjective Clauses into Phrases
An adjective clause with a subject pronoun – such as which, that or who – can also be shortened into a phrase.
You can shorten an adjective clause in two ways:
- Omit the subject pronoun and verb.
- Omit the subject pronoun and change the verb to the form ending in “ing.”
Here are some examples of how to create an adjective phrase:
- Adjective Clause: I can’t find the books that were borrowed from class.
- Adjective Phrase: I can’t find the books borrowed from class.
- Adjective Clause: The girl who is leading the parade is my best friend.
- Adjective Phrase: The girl leading the parade is my best friend.
- Adjective Clause: His share of the money, which consists 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.
- Adjective Clause: Something that smells bad may be rotten.
- Adjective Phrase: Something smelling bad may be rotten.
Remember, the goal of an adjective clause is to add more information to a noun or a pronoun. You can add the information by including a longer adjective clause or you can shorten it by turning the adjective clause into a phrase.