An adjectival clause (adjective clause or relative clause) does the work of an adjective and describes a noun, it’s usually introduced by a relative pronoun: who | whom | whose | that | which
- I went to the show that was very popular.
This kind of clause is used to provide extra information about the noun it follows. This can be to define something (a defining clause), or provide unnecessary, but interesting, added information (a non-defining clause).
- The car that is parked in front of the gates will be towed away. (Defining relative clause.)
Information contained in the defining relative clause is absolutely essential in order for us to be able to identify the car in question.
- My dog, who is grey and white, chased the postman. ( Non-defining relative clause)
A non-defining relative clause is separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. If you take away the non-defining clause the basic meaning of the sentence remains intact.
- My dog chased the postman.
Adjective clauses answer questions like “which?” or “what kind of?”
An adjective clause functions as an adjective (modifies a noun or pronoun); an adverb clause functions as an adverb (describes a verb, adjective or other adverb); a noun clause is used as a noun (subject of a verb, direct object, indirect object, predicate nominative or object of the preposition).
!Note – The difference between a clause and a phrase is that a phrase does not contain a finite verb.
|Subject||who, that||which, that||who||which|
|Object||who, whom, that, Ø||which, that, Ø||who, whom||which|
|Possessive||whose, of whom||whose, of which||whose, of whom||whose, of which|