An adjective clause is sometimes also called a relative clause. It is an example of a subordinate clause. Adjective clauses are usually introduced by the relative pronouns who, whom, which, that and whose. The relative adverbs when, where and why can also be used to introduce adjective clauses.
We can convert a simple sentence into a complex sentence by expanding an adjective or other determiner into a clause.
Note that an adjective clause comes immediately after the noun it modifies.
Study the following examples.
- I have bought his house.
This is a simple sentence. It can be converted into a complex sentence by expanding the possessive adjective his into an adjective clause. Study the sentence given below.
- I have bought the house which belonged to him.
His house = the house which belonged to him
- Everybody loves honest boys. (Simple)
To convert this sentence into complex, expand the phrase honest boys into the clause ‘boys who are honest’.
- Everybody loves boys who are honest.
- This is Jack’s house. (Simple sentence)
Jack’s house = house that Jack built/ house that belongs to Jack
- This is the house that Jack built. (Complex sentence)
- He told me an interesting story. (Simple)
An interesting story = a story that is interesting
- He told me a story that was interesting. (Complex)
NotesThe relative pronouns who, whom and whose are only used to talk about people. Note that whom is the object form of who. It can replace the pronouns him, her, them etc. Whom is rarely used in modern English. In a less formal style, we prefer who.
- She married a rich guy. I don’t like him.
- She married a rich guy whom I don’t like. (Formal)
- She married a rich guy who I don’t like. (Informal)
Whose is the possessive form of who. It can replace the pronouns his, her, their etc.
- I saw a girl. Her beauty took my breath away.
- I saw a girl whose beauty took my breath away.
Which is only used to talk about animals and things.
That can be used to talk about both people and things.