Adjective Clause


Adjective Clause

The term adjective clause consists of two words. One is the word “Adjective” and the other is “Clause”. It is better to understand the two words before studying the main topic.


An adjective is a single word that is used in a sentence to tell more about a noun, or pronoun.

  • John gave prizes to genius students.

The word “genius” tells more about the noun “students”.


A clause is a group of words that has a subject and a verb, or a subject and predicate.  

  • He translated my book into English.
This example has the subject "he", and the verb "translated".
  • I met the boy who had told you about me.

“Who had told you about me” is a clause that tells more about the boy.

Adjective Clause

An adjective clause is a group of words with a subject and a verb that functions as an adjective.

  • The book that I put on the table is very expensive.

In this example, the clause ‘that I have put on the table” modifies the noun “book”. All the words in the clause work together as an adjective that tells more about the noun.

Adjective Clause

Examples of Adjective Clauses

  • The book that I have given you is not mine.
  • It was a great time when I taught English.
  • My brother, who has black clothes, is 15 years old.
  • The students who secured good marks are appreciated.
  • The boy whose arm is broken should be marked “leave”.
  • The moment when I was given my master's degree was great.
  • My computer, which is more expensive, should be on the safe side.
  • Did you go to the park where we enjoyed ourselves a lot last year?
  • The reason why I resigned is a secret that I do not want to tell anyone.

Types of Adjective Clauses

  • Essential Adjective Clause
  • Nonessential Adjective Clause

An adjective clause gives more information to modify a noun. The information that an adjective clause gives can be essential or nonessential.

Essential Adjective Clause

An essential adjective clause gives essential information about a noun to complete a sentence’s thought. In this case, the information is needed to complete the thought. It is also called a restrictive adjective clause.

  • The seat that you reserved for me is not good.

In this example, the clause “that you reserved for me” is an essential clause because it provides information that is required to modify the noun “seat”.

Nonessential Adjective Clause

A nonessential adjective clause gives additional information about a noun. A sentence without a nonessential adjective clause can also give complete thought. It is also called a nonrestrictive adjective clause. The information in this clause is not restricted whether you want to give it or not.

  • His brother, who reads in grade 10, met me yesterday.

The adjective clause “who reads in grade 10” is nonessential because it is not restrictive. Without the adjective clause, it gives complete thought.

Elements of an Adjective Clause

1.  Every adjective clause starts with a relative pronoun or relative adverb. These include who, whose, whom, which, that, when, where, and why. Remember that relative pronouns can be omitted, which we call understood relative pronouns.

  • The car that you want to buy does not look nice.
  • The place where we went last year was really beautiful.
  • The book I borrowed from you is now with my friend.

2.    An adjective clause must have a subject and a verb.

  • The boy who gives me his bike is my friend.

The subject is “who”, and the verb is “gives”.

3.    It adds more to the noun.

  • The boy who wears glasses looks known to me.

Adjective clause    = who wears glasses

Relative pronoun = who

Subject and verb   = who and wears

Modification           = It gives information about “the boy”

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