27/02/2019 Aprende Inglés Today

Relative clauses

by H. Adiei. English & French Teacher at AIT Language School.

Las oraciones de relativo en inglés son unas de las fórmulas más utilizadas y en este artículo te descubrimos todo lo que te ofrecen.

The relative clauses bring up many questions and a lot problems to high school students. So, I am going to explain as brief and simple as possible and answer the following questions: «What are the relative clauses?”, “When do we use them?» and «What kind of relative clauses are there?».

What are relative clauses?

Relative clauses are sentences that describe a noun. They do the same “job” adjectives do. E.g.:

relative clauses

When do we use the relative clauses?

We use the relative clauses when we want to give additional information about something without having to start a new sentence. The «relative clause» connects the information.

We always put a relative clause immediately after the noun it describes. Also, we use relative pronouns at the beginning of a relative clause. The relative pronouns are when, where, who, which, why, whose, whose and that.

  • When is used for a time.

e.g. ‘Half past two is when the lesson finishes’.

e.g. ‘2008 is when mike wrote his first book’.

  • Where is used for places.

e.g.’Barcelona is where my best friend was born.’

e.g. ‘This is where I sleep’

  • Who is used for people. Sometimes write «who’s», which is the contraction of «who is» or «who has».

e.g. ‘Angel, who’s got the longest hair in my class, is a model. (who has)

e.g. ‘ The guy who’s standing next to the window is a famous actor. (who is)

  • Which is used for things.

 e.g.’The car which you bought is cool.’

 e.g. ‘ The path which I take to as been blocked temporarily’.

  • Why is used for a reason.

 e.g. ‘Heavy traffic is the reason why I am late.’

e.g.’ You are too loud that is why I don’t sit next to you anymore’.

  • Whose is used to express possession.

e.g.  ‘The woman whose dog bit me has moved to another town.’

e.g. ‘The boy whose brother appeared on the game show goes to my school.’

  • Whom is similar to «who» but it’s formal.

e.g.’I saw the man whom you saw at the party.’

e.g. ‘Romeo is whom my heart belongs to’

  • That Can be used informally instead of ‘who’ and ‘which’ (except in ‘non-defining’ relative clauses, see below).

e.g. ‘The man who I work with collects snakes.’

‘The man that I work with collects snakes.’

e.g. ‘The shop (which) she likes has closed down.’

‘The shop that she likes has closed down.’

What kind of relative clauses are there?

There are two kinds of relative clauses: «the defining relative clauses» and «the non-defining relative clauses».

  • The defining relative clauses are the ones that specify important information. Without that additional information the sentence would not make sense.

e.g. Samsung mobile phones which are made in South Korea are very expensive.

  • The non-defining relative clauses are the ones that provide additional information that is not necessary. This information goes between commas. The sentence still makes sense if we eliminate the information between commas.

e.g. Samsung mobile phones, which are made in South Korea, are very expensive.