A relative clause (/ˈrelətɪv ˈklɔ:z/) is a type of subordinate clause.
English relative clauses are notoriously complicated, with entire book chapters often dedicated to them; consequently, this page can only give an introduction.
Overview[edit | edit source]
|Type||Defining relative clause||Non-defining relative clause|
|Examples||This is the building where I work.||My sister, who is a teacher, lives in the UK.|
|Function||Either:||To add extra information|
|Notes||A comma does not separate the relative clause from the clause it is dependent upon.||Typically separated by commas.|
Appropriacy[edit | edit source]
Relative clauses are far more common in written English, particularly formal written English, than in informal or spoken English.
Pedagogy[edit | edit source]
Since they are predominantly written grammar, it’s appropriate to focus on reading and writing these rather than speaking. Focusing on learning the rules may be a mistake; it may better to learn several examples and develop a natural feeling for the rules.
Whilst other European languages also use relative clauses, Chinese speakers may struggle because they don’t really use relative clauses in their language.