Adjective Clauses: Paint by Numbers
Here's another type of clause: the adjective clause. Like adverb clauses, adjective clauses are of the dependent variety.
Adjective clauses describe nouns and pronouns. They add detail to sentences by functioning as adjectives. Obviously, you can tell an adjective clause by its function, but there's also another little clue: Most adjective clauses start with the pronouns who, whom, whose, which, that, when, or where. Adjective clauses that begin with one of the relative pronouns are also called relative clauses.
Here are some other pronouns that can start an adjective clause:
You Could Look It Up
Adjective clauses describe nouns and pronouns.
You can identify an adjective clause because it answers the adjective questions: “Which one?” or “What kind?”
Here are some examples of adjective clauses:
Danger, Will Robinson
Place an adjective clause as close as possible to the word it describes or risk driving your readers mad with confusion.
Relative Clauses: It's All Relative
Adjective clauses that begin with one of the relative pronouns are also called relative clauses. Here are the relative pronouns: who, whom, whose, which, and that.
As you learned in Parts of Speech, relative pronouns connect (or “relate”—get it?) an adjective clause to the word the clause describes. In addition, relative pronouns function within the clause as an adjective, subject, direct object, or object of a preposition. For instance:
Remember to use who, whom (and all variations such as whoever and whomever) to refer to people. Reserve which and that if the antecedent is a thing or an animal.
Clauses Make the Sentence
As with adverb clauses, you can use adjective clauses to link ideas, combine information, and create more effective sentences. In addition to adding description to sentences, adjective clauses allow you to create relationships between ideas. Here's an example:
Two sentences: “Rock Around the Clock” was released by Bill Haley and the Comets in 1955. “Rock Around the Clock” is often called the first big rock-and-roll hit.
One sentence: “Rock Around the Clock,” which is often called the first big rock-and-roll hit, was released by Bill Haley and the Comets in 1955.
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Grammar and Style © 2003 by Laurie E. Rozakis, Ph.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.