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Relative clauses

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    Teacher: Chris
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    Relative clauses: defining

    When we want to describe what a person, place, or thing does, we use relative clauses. Relative clauses used in this way, function as linking.  These relative clauses (which/that, where, when, who or whose) links two simpler sentences together making a better more sophisticated sentence. These kinds of relative clauses are called defining relative clauses'

     

     

    Item being described

    Example

    Explanation

    A thing

     

    It's the pen which/that I use to write with

     

    We are using a relative clause to explain the function of the pen.

     

    A place

    It's the place where I always go

     

    We are clearly describing a place that the speaker always goes to.

    A time

    It's the time when I was really happy

     

    The time when the speaker was very happy is being clearly defined with the relative clause.

     

    A person

    He is the man who cleans my car

    The relative clause is used here to describe what the man does.

    Possessions (something which belongs to something or someone)

     
    This is the man whose dog you saw 

    Here the relative clause is used to describe the possession of the man, in this case a dog

     

     

     

     

    Warning!

     

    It is possible to use that instead of who or which

     

    • She is the woman who/that teaches me how to play the piano

     

    It is also possible to remove the relative clause who, which or that when these words are not the subject of a sentence:

     

    She's the girl who my mum spoke to yesterday = She's the girl my Mum spoke to yesterday

     

     

    Relative clauses: Non-defining

    Relative clauses can also be used to combine one sentenceinside' another. Speakers of English do this to add some extra information within a written sentence (although this can be done in speaking as well) to save time and to make a text more fluent so that it can be read more smoothly. These kinds of relative clauses are described asnon-defining'. The use of two commas (, ,) is important as it indicates theextra' information found inside a sentence.

     

    Sentences without relative clauses- basic

    Non-defining relative clauses used to join sentences- more complex

    It's the country I live in. The country is called Scotland

     

    It's the country, which is called Scotland, I live in

    The garage is closed. You can get a good deal at this garage

    The garage, where you can get a good deal, is closed

    The morning classes are the most difficult to teach. In these classes I'm really tired

    The morning classes, when I'm really tired, are the most difficult to teach

    George Orwell was one of Britain's greatest writers. He wasn't born in the UK

     

    George Orwell, who wasn't born in the UK, was one Britain's finest writers

    The president announced the new plan. The president's children were away.

    The president, whose children were away, announced the new plan

     

     

    Warning!

    In non-defining relative clauses, that cannot be used:

     

    The shop, which is open at the weekends, has changed its prices recently

     

    NOT

     

    The shop, that is open at the weekends, has changed its prices recently

     

     

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