RELATIVE CLAUSES

We use relative clauses to give additional information about something without starting another sentence. By combining sentences with a relative clause, your text becomes more fluent and you can avoid repeating certain words.

How to Form Relative  Clauses 

Imagine, a girl is talking to Tom. You want to know who she is and ask a friend whether he knows her. You could say:

  • A girl is talking to Tom. Do you know the girl?

That sounds rather complicated, doesn’t it? It would be easier with a relative clause: you put both pieces of information into one sentence. Start with the most important thing  – you want to know who the girl is.

  • Do you know the girl …

As your friend cannot know which girl you are talking about, you need to put in the additional information  – the girl is talking to Tom. Use „the girl“ only in the first part of the sentence, in the second part replace it with the relative pronoun (for people, use the relative pronoun „who“). So the final sentence is:

  • Do you know the girl whois talking to Tom?

Relative Pronouns 

relative pronoun use example
who subject or object pronoun for people I told you about the woman who lives next door.
which subject or object pronoun for animals and things Do you see the cat which is lying on the roof?
whose possession for people animals and things Do you know the boy whose mother is a nurse?
whom object pronoun for people, especially in non-defining relative clauses (in defining relative clauses we colloquially prefer who) I was invited by the professor whom I met at the conference.
that subject or object pronoun for people, animals and things in defining relative clauses (who or which are also possible) I don’t like the table that stands in the kitchen.

 

 

 

relative adverb meaning use example
when in/on which refers to a time expression the day when we met him
where in/at which refers to a place the place where we met him

 

Defining Relative Clauses 

Defining relative clauses (also called identifying relative clauses or restrictive relative clauses) give detailed information defining a general term or expression. Defining relative clauses are not put in commas.

Imagine, Tom is in a room with five girls. One girl is talking to Tom and you ask somebody whether he knows this girl. Here the relative clause defines which of the five girls you mean.

  • Do you know the girl who is talking to Tom?
  • Defining relative clauses are often used in definitions.
  • A seaman is someone who works on a ship.
  • Object pronouns in defining relative clauses can be dropped. (Sentences with a relative clause without the relative pronoun are called Contact Clauses.)
  • The boy (who/whom)we met yesterday is very nice.

 

Non-Defining Relative Clauses 

Non-defining relative clauses (also called non-identifying relative clauses or non-restrictive relative clauses) give additional information on something, but do not define it. Non-defining relative clauses are put in commas.

Imagine, Tom is in a room with only one girl. The two are talking to each other and you ask somebody whether he knows this girl. Here the relative clause is non-defining because in this situation it is obvious which girl you mean.

Do you know the girl, who is talking to Tom?

 

BE CAREFUL !

  • In non-defining relative clauses, who/whichcan not be replaced with that.

Object pronouns in non-defining relative clauses must be used.

Jim, who/whom we met yesterday, is very nice.

  • When you need to use “where” as a relative pronoun, the noun which is modified must refer to a place. Sometimes place names can be used as the subject or object of the sentence. In this case, you must use “which or that”.

 

  • He was born in Ankara. Ankara is the capital of Turkey.
  • He was born in Ankara, which is the capital of Turkey.
  • He was born in Ankara. His parents worked in Ankara for 6 years.
  • He was born in Ankara where his parents worked for 6 years.

 

  • I have already been to Trabzon. You will spend your holiday there.
  • I have already been to Trabzon where you will spend your holiday.

 

  • I have already been to Trabzon. Trabzon is a famous for its natural beauties.
  • I have already been to Trabzon which is famous for its natural beauties.

 

  • Use whom to refer the object of the sentences or object pronouns such as him, them, her etc.
  • I know the girl. She is talking to Tom.
  • I know the girl who is talking to Tom.

 

  • I know the girl. Tom loves her.
  • I know the girl whom Tom loves.

 

  • Pay attention to subject verb agreement while using relative clauses.

The students whom I teach are very successful.

She bought a car which comes from the USA.

 

EXERCISE

A. Complete the sentences with relative clauses in simple present. Use who or which.

1. This is the man ___________________________________(work at the station) .
2. The tree ________________________________________(grow in the garden) is an apple tree.
3. The man______________________________________ (go jogging) every Friday is my neighbor.
4. The elephants_________________________________________ (live in Africa) have big ears.
5. Turn left at the yellow house______________________________ (be opposite) the petrol station.

B. Connect the following sentences with adjective clauses –DO NOT USE THAT. Use the second sentence as the adjective clause.

1. The room is large. My children sleep there.
________________________________________________________
2. The mailman is old. He delivers our mail.
________________________________________________________
3. The table is an antique. I fixed its broken leg.
________________________________________________________
4. January is the month. I will get married then.
________________________________________________________
5. The teacher retired. I like him the best.
________________________________________________________
C. Write the letter of the correct answer on the line. YOU MUST USE “WHO” FOR SUBJECTS AND “WHOM” FOR OBJECTS.

1. The girl _____ sat at the table was beautiful.
a. who
b. whom
c. which

2. I enjoyed the children _____ I met at the party.
a. who
b. whom
c. which

3. The wine _____ the waiter brought to our table was wonderful.
a. who
b. whom
c. which

4. People _____ teach children are called teachers.
a. who
b. which
c. whom

5. The dog _____ my sister bought is really cute.
a. who
b. whom
c. that

6. People _____ like to draw can become artists.
a. that
b. which
c. whom
7. The desk _____ I sit at is uncomfortable.
a. that
b. whom
c. who

8. The boy ______ I met at the party was handsome.
a. which
b. who
c. whom

9. I know a family _____ cat is pink.
a. who
b. whom
c. whose

10. Children are people _____ are defenseless and need protection.
a. who
b. whom
c. whose

D. Circle the letter of the incorrect portion.

1. I met a girl whom rides on the bus.
A B C

2. The woman whom we meet was very nice.
A B C

3. Ms. Creelman is a teacher who care about her students.
A B C

4. The man which I met was a funny guy.
A B C

5. The students to who I talked were serious.
A B C

6. The woman whose purse was stole called the police.
A B C

7. The man whom answered the phone was polite.
A B C

8. The bed which I sleeps on is very firm and comfortable.
A B C

9. The people whom helped me during the hurricane saved my life.
A B C

10. The stream which run through my property in North Carolina is small.
A B C

E. PART THREE: Write “C” if the sentence is correct. Write “I” if the sentence is incorrect and correct the mistakes

1. ___ We met a young girl who is sweet to everyone.
2. ___ The man which I met is very intelligent.
3. ___ The family that lives next to us is very helpful.
4. ___ Do you know the girl whom is talking to our teacher?
5. ___ The woman I met last week was in my high school class.
6. ___ The ocean that surrounds Hawaii is very clean.
7. ___ The new boots who I bought were expensive.
8. ___ The man whose rabbit we found was young.
9. ___ The woman that I met her was pretty.
10. ___ The desk which I sat on it was comfortable.
11. ___ A CD player is an electronic device that plays CDs.
12. ___ Some teachers whose work at Miami Dade College are strict.
13. ___ We talked to the children who were in the pre-school.

F. Combine the sentences into one single sentence using relative clauses. Use pronouns instead of nouns where it sounds better. Note that some of them are non-defining.

1 My only flat is in an old part of the city. It was built in the 1920s.
____________________________________________________________________________________
2 There are lots of bars and restaurants in the neighborhood. I live in the neighborhood.
____________________________________________________________________________________
3 My neighbor Jack comes from Ecuador. He works on the fruit farms around the city.
____________________________________________________________________________________
4 My next door neighbor makes a lot of noise walking around. His flat is above mine.
____________________________________________________________________________________
5 The traffic in İstanbul is also very noisy. It passes my flat.
____________________________________________________________________________________
6 The local market called Green sells excellent local produce. It is a two-minute walk from my flat.
_______________________________________________________________________________

G. Use the following sentences and make relative clauses. Note that some of them are non defining.
1. I know a woman. She works in your office.
________________________________________________________________________________
2. I met a man at the party. He is very old.
________________________________________________________________________________
3. This is a box. It is for putting your lunch in.
________________________________________________________________________________
4. Tony is a friend. I’ve known him since I was at school.
________________________________________________________________________________
5. Andrea lives in Manchester. She runs her own business.
________________________________________________________________________________
6. Last week I bought a phone. It can send email and take photos.
________________________________________________________________________________
7. We stayed in Rixos. It has two swimming pools and a sauna.
________________________________________________________________________________
8. We stayed in a hotel. It was only opened last month.
________________________________________________________________________________
9. We went to a restaurant. The waiters wear fancy dress there.
________________________________________________________________________________
10. I once knew a woman. Her husband was a famous singer in England.
________________________________________________________________________________

H. Write the correct verb form.
1) The man who_________(live/lives) upstairs is always playing music when I’m trying to get to sleep.
2) The books which _________ (come/comes) from England ____(am/is/are) very expensive.
3) The man who ____________(lives/live) next door____ (am/is/are) always making a noise.
4) The letters that we received today____________ (has/have) no stamp on it.
5) The book which I was reading yesterday_______________ (was/were) a detective story.
6) The man that you see at the hospital ____________ (lives/live) London.
7) My classmate, that you met yesterday, _____________(want/ wants) to speak to you.
8) Grammar rules which we learned last week ______________(was/were) very hard.


ANSWERS

A. Complete the sentences with relative clauses in simple present. Use who or which.

1. This is the man who work at the station .
2. The tree which grows in the garden is an apple tree.
3. The man who goes jogging every Friday is my neighbor.
4. The elephants which live in Africa have big ears.
5. Turn left at the yellow house which is the opposite the petrol station.

B. Connect the following sentences with adjective clauses –DO NOT USE THAT. Use the second sentence as the adjective clause.

1. The room is large. My children sleep there.
The room where my children sleep is large.
2. The mailman is old. He delivers our mail.
The man who delivers our mail is old.
3. The table is an antique. I fixed its broken leg.
The table whose broken leg I fixed is an antique.
4. January is the month. I will get married then.
January is the month where I will get married.
5. The teacher retired. I like him the best.
The teacher whom I like the best retired.
C. Write the letter of the correct answer on the line. YOU MUST USE “WHO” FOR SUBJECTS AND “WHOM” FOR OBJECTS.

1. The girl _____ sat at the table was beautiful.
a. who
b. whom
c. which

2. I enjoyed the children _____ I met at the party.
a. who
b. whom
c. which

3. The wine _____ the waiter brought to our table was wonderful.
a. who
b. whom
c. which

4. People _____ teach children are called teachers.
a. who
b. which
c. whom

5. The dog _____ my sister bought is really cute.
a. who
b. whom
c. that

6. People _____ like to draw can become artists.
a. that
b. which
c. whom
7. The desk _____ I sit at is uncomfortable.
a. that
b. whom
c. who

8. The boy ______ I met at the party was handsome.
a. which
b. who
c. whom

9. I know a family _____ cat is pink.
a. who
b. whom
c. whose

10. Children are people _____ are defenseless and need protection.
a. who
b. whom
c. whose

D. Circle the letter of the incorrect portion.

1. I met a girl whom rides on the bus.
A B C

2. The woman whom we meet was very nice.
A B C

3. Ms. Creelman is a teacher who care about her students.
A B C

4. The man which I met was a funny guy.
A B C

5. The students to who I talked were serious.
A B C

6. The woman whose purse was stole called the police.
A B C

7. The man whom answered the phone was polite.
A B C

8. The bed which I sleeps on is very firm and comfortable.
A B C

9. The people whom helped me during the hurricane saved my life.
A B C

10. The stream which run through my property in North Carolina is small.
A B C

E. PART THREE: Write “C” if the sentence is correct. Write “I” if the sentence is incorrect and correct the mistakes

1. __C_ We met a young girl who is sweet to everyone.
2. ___ The man which WHOM I met is very intelligent.
3. ___ The family that WHO lives next to us is very helpful.
4. ___ Do you know the girl whom WHO is talking to our teacher?
5. __C_ The woman I met last week was in my high school class.
6. __C_ The ocean that surrounds Hawaii is very clean.
7. ___ The new boots who WHICH I bought were expensive.
8. __C_ The man whose rabbit we found was young.
9. __C_ The woman that I met her was pretty.
10. ___ The desk which I sat on it was comfortable.
11. __C_ A CD player is an electronic device that plays CDs.
12. ___ Some teachers whose WHO work at Miami Dade College are strict.
13. __C_ We talked to the children who were in the pre-school.

F. Combine the sentences into one single sentence using relative clauses. Use pronouns instead of nouns where it sounds better. Note that some of them are non-defining.

1 My only flat is in an old part of the city. It was built in the 1920s.
_____ My only flat ,which was built in the 1920s, is in an old part of the city ___________________
2 There are lots of bars and restaurants in the neighborhood. I live in the neighborhood.
__ There are lots of bars and restaurants in the neighborhood where I live__
3 My neighbor Jack comes from Ecuador. He works on the fruit farms around the city.
_____ My neighbor Jack who works on the fruit farms around the city comes from Ecuador. ______
4 My next door neighbor makes a lot of noise walking around. His flat is above mine.
____ My next door neighbor whose flat is above mine makes a lot of noise walking around. ___
5 The traffic in İstanbul is also very noisy. It passes my flat.
_______ The traffic in İstanbul which passes my flat is also very noisy.____________
6 The local market called Green sells excellent local produce. It is a two-minute walk from my flat.
_____ The local market called Green which is a two-minute walk from my flat sells excellent local produce. ________

G. Use the following sentences and make relative clauses. Note that some of them are non defining.
1. I know a woman. She works in your office.
_____ I know a woman who works in your office._______________
2. I met a man at the party. He is very old.
__________________ I met a man at the party who is very old _____
3. This is a box. It is for putting your lunch in.
_____________ This is a box which is for putting your lunch in _____
4. Tony is a friend. I’ve known him since I was at school.
_______ Tony is a friend whom I’ve known since I was at school._______
5. Andrea lives in Manchester. She runs her own business.
______ Andrea runs her own business lives in Manchester.______
6. Last week I bought a phone. It can send email and take photos.
_________ Last week I bought a phone which can send email and take photos.______
7. We stayed in Rixos. It has two swimming pools and a sauna.
_______ We stayed in Rixos which has two swimming pools and a sauna.___
8. We stayed in a hotel. It was only opened last month.
_____ We stayed in a hotel which was only opened last month._____
9. We went to a restaurant. The waiters wear fancy dress there.
_______ We went to a restaurant where the waiters wear fancy dress.____
10. I once knew a woman. Her husband was a famous singer in England.
_____ I once knew a woman whose husband was a famous singer in England.___

H. Write the correct verb form.
1) The man who_lives___(live/lives) upstairs is always playing music when I’m trying to get to sleep.
2) The books which _come_ (come/comes) from England _are_(am/is/are) very expensive.
3) The man who _lives___(lives/live) next door _is_ (am/is/are) always making a noise.
4) The letters that we received today____have___ (has/have) no stamp on it.
5) The book which I was reading yesterday__was____ (was/were) a detective story.
6) The man that you see at the hospital __lives___ (lives/live) London.
7) My classmate, that you met yesterday, __wants___(want/ wants) to speak to you.
8) Grammar rules which we learned last week __were___(was/were) very hard.

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