Adjectives are words used to describe nouns. Examples are: nice, kind, beautiful, wise and hard. An adjective clause serves the same purpose as an adjective.
Adjective clauses can be used to form complex sentences. As you have already learned, a complex sentence contains one main clause and one or more dependent or subordinate clauses.
Study the example sentences given below.
- The slave had to fight with a huge lion. The lion was kept in a cage.
Here the second sentence says something about the lion mentioned in the first sentence. That means the second sentence can be converted into an adjective clause describing the noun lion.
Adjective clauses are usually introduced by relative pronouns like who, which and that. Who is used to refer to people. Which is used to refer to things. That can be used to refer to both people and things.
- The slave had to fight with a huge lion which was kept in a cage. OR The slave had to fight with a huge lion that was kept in a cage.
Now let’s analyze the role of the relative pronoun which. As you can see, it is the subject of the verb was. It also connects the two clauses.
- He has two sons. They have wasted lots of money in idle pursuits.
Here the second sentence says something about the two sons mentioned in the first sentence. We can join these two sentences by using the relative pronoun who.
- He has two sons who have wasted lots of money in idle pursuits.
The verb form used after a relative pronoun should agree with its antecedent in number and person. In the sentence given above, the verb have agrees with the plural noun two sons.