Hot News!

Adjective Clauses


Adjective Clauses

Adjective Clauses

  1. A clause is a group of words that contains a verb and its subject
  2. Clauses may be independent and stand on their own, or subordinate, functioning as part of a sentence. 
  3. A subordinate clause cannot stand alone as a sentence.

Adjective Clauses

An adjective clause is a subordinate clause that modifies a noun or a pronoun.

Adjective clauses usually follow the noun or pronoun they modify. They describe nouns or pronouns, adding interesting details to sentences by telling what kind or which one.

  • Felicia’s house, which is the red brick one on the corner, is shaded by pine trees. [The adjective clause follows the noun it modifies, house, and describes it, telling which house it is.] 
  • The shade that moves across her yard each day allows her little brothers to play outside comfortably. [The adjective clause follows the noun it modifies, shade, telling what kind of shade.]


Adjective Clauses Note

An adjective clause usually begins with a relative pronoun, which shows the relationship of the clause to the word or words it modifies.
Common relative pronouns include that, which, who, whom, and whose.
An adjective clause may also begin with a relative adverb, such as when or where.

Essential and Nonessential Adjective Clauses

Adjective clauses come in two types, depending on what they do in a sentence.
An essential (or restrictive) clause is critical to the meaning of the sentence.
An essential clause restricts the meaning of the noun or pronoun it modifies.
If you remove an essential adjective clause from the sentence, the sentence loses part of its basic message and may not make sense at all. 

  • Avoid exercises that cause you pain. [Without the essential clause, the sentence would read, “Avoid exercises.” The essential clause restricts the meaning of exercises. Not all exercises should be avoided, only those that cause you pain.]

A nonessential (or nonrestrictive) clause, on the other hand, adds additional information to a sentence.
Removing a nonessential clause from a sentence makes the sentence less specific or less interesting, but it does not change the basic meaning of the sentence.
Because nonessential clauses can be removed from the sentence in this way, these clauses are separated from the sentence by commas

  • A weight bar, to which weights can be added, should carry just enough weight to challenge your muscles. [The adjective clause adds a detail about a weight bar that is interesting. However, if you remove the clause, the sentence’s basic meaning stays the same: “A weight bar should carry just enough weight to challenge your muscles.”]


Q: What is an adjective clause?
A: An adjective clause is a dependent clause that functions as an adjective by modifying a noun or pronoun. It describes, identifies, or gives further information about a noun.

Q: How do you identify adjective clauses?
A: Adjective clauses usually start with words like "that," "which," "who," or "whose." They provide more details about a noun or pronoun in the sentence.

Q: Where do adjective clauses go in a sentence?
A: Adjective clauses follow the nouns they modify. For example: "The house that stands on the corner is green."

Q: What’s the difference between adjective clauses and relative clauses?
A: There is no difference. Adjective clauses and relative clauses modify a noun and function as adjectives. The terms can be used interchangeably.

Q: How do adjective clauses differ from adjectives?
A: Adjectives provide details about nouns, while adjective clauses provide even more descriptive details as a clause with a subject and verb.


  1. The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, 11th Edition by Jane Straus, Wiley, 2014.
  2. "Adjective Clauses" from Grammar Monster:
  3. "Adjective Clauses" from
Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎


No comments
Post a Comment