A relative clause is a subordinate clause that begins with a question word (e.g. who, which, where) or the word that. You can use it to modify a noun or pronoun (i.e. to identify or give more information about it).
Words like who, that and when are often referred to as relative pronouns when they are used to introduce relative clauses. You use:
There are two types of relative clause: defining and non-defining. You use a defining (or restrictive) relative clause to ‘identify’ or ‘restrict the reference of’ a noun. You do not separate it from the rest of the sentence by commas (in text) or pauses (in speech).
You use a non-defining (or non-restrictive) relative clause to supply additional information about the noun, whose identity or reference is already established. You can also use it to comment on the whole situation described in a main clause.
You should not use the relative pronoun that in non-defining relative clauses.
You can sometimes omit the relative pronoun in a defining relative clause to create a more concise style. You cannot do this in a non-defining clause.
For details of adjective clauses, click here.
In the following questions the relative pronouns are missing. Edit the
sentences, putting in suitable relative pronouns and any missing commas. After
you finish them, click the 'Check All Answers' button to see the answers and
hits since 6 November 2004.
Last updated on 15 July 2010.
If you have any suggestions or questions, please e-mail us at .