Relative clause

From Teflpedia

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]

There are two types of relative clause in English; defining relative clauses (which are restrictive elements) and non-defining relative clauses (which are non-restrictive elements).

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]

Relative clauses are typically introduced at about pre-intermediate level, but their complexity means they are studied at intermediate level as well.

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.

References[edit | edit source]