More about adjective clauses

March 15, 2011pdf

We have already seen that an adjective clause is a subordinate clause that does the work of an adjective. It qualifies a noun or pronoun in the main clause.

An adjective clause is introduced by a relative pronoun or a relative adverb.

  • Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. (Here the adjective clause is introduced by the relative pronoun that.)
  • The reason why she did it is obvious. (Here the adjective clause is introduced by the relative adverb why.)
  • The site where the accident occurred is nearby.
  • He is the boy who won the first prize.

Notes

The relative pronoun or relative adverb introducing an adjective clause is sometimes understood, and not expressed.

  • Eat all that you can. OR Eat all you can.
  • I saw a man whom I knew. OR I saw a man I knew.
  • Where is the parcel that he sent to me? OR Where is the parcel he sent to me?
  • The reason why I have come is to ask for my money. OR The reason I have come is to ask for my money.

A to-infinitive can often replace an adjective clause.

Compare:

  • Give me some water which I can drink.
  • Give me some water to drink.
  • He has no clothes which he can wear.
  • He has no clothes to wear.
  • I have some work which I must do.
  • I have some work to do.
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