What is an Adjective Clause ? – Its Types

In the previous blog posts you read about Noun Clause and Adverbial Clause. In this post, we shall discuss the Adjective Clause.

What is an Adjective Clause and what are its types ?

A clause that does the work of an Adjective is called an Adjective Clause. This Clause is also known as Relative Clause. This clause qualifies or modifies the noun or noun phrase before it. Such a clause answers the question ” Which Person ?” or Which Thing ?”. e.g.

a. The book which has a red cover is mine.

b. Here was a man who had built a unique instrument.

Adjective or Relative Clause are of two types –

Defining Relative Clause and Non-defining Relative Clause –

1. Defining Relative Clause –

This clause defines, limits or specifies the noun placed before it. Hence, it is essential for the clear understanding of the noun preceding it. This construction is popular in spoken and non-formal English. For example –

a. The boy who is playing outside is my younger brother.

The phrase who is playing outside is a Relative clause qualifying the noun phrase the boy.

b. This is the book which I like the most.

The phrase in italics is the Adjective Clause qualifying the noun phrase the book.

Non-Defining Relative Clause –

This clause adds something to the Noun placed before it by providing some more information about it. The preceding Noun is already definite. This clause is separated from its noun by a comma. This construction is more common in written than spoken English. Examples –

John’s father, who lives in the USA, is seriously ill.

The phrase who lives in the USA is a Non-defining Relative Clause that qualifies the noun phrase John’s father.

Mrs Indira Gandhi, who was the daughter of Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, was the first woman PM of India.

The italic phrase is a Non-defining relative clause qualifying the noun Mrs Indira Gandhi.

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