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 and non-defining relative clauses.

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 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's better to learn examples and develop a 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]