Adjective clause (relative clause): definition, types, and examples.

In this lesson, we are going to see what an adjective clause is, who it functions within a sentence. Also, we are going to see its types with examples.

Adjective Clause-definition:

An adjective clause also known as “Relative clause” used to modify/identify a noun that can be either the subject or the object of a sentence. Also, an adjective clause begins with relative pronouns that make a connection between it and the rest of the sentence.


The book that i gave you is about grammar

  • The adjective clause here identify the noun book and occurred as a subject within the sentence

I gave him a book which was about grammar

  • The adjective clause in this case occurred as an object and it modifies the noun ‘book”.


  • as you may notice in the previous examples, the whole clause (adjective clause) occurred or play the role as an adjective.
  • In the first example “that I gave you” is an adjective clause. The whole clause occurred as an adjective that identify the noun “book”.

An adjective clause can be introduced by:

Relative pronouns : Who, whom, whose, which, that


Relative adverbs: where, when, why


None of them:


Reminder: a clause is a group of words that must contain a subject and a verb. A clause may be either an independent clause that provides a complete thought and it can stand by itself as a sentence or a dependent clause (subordinate clause) that can’t sand by itself or provide a complete thought and it’s occur as part of the sentence



You can learn more about dependent and independent sentences from here.

Adjective Clause Types:

Defining (restrictive) and Non-defining (non-restrictive) Adjective Clause:

Adjective clause (relative clause) used to provide extra details or information that can be either:

  • Necessary and important extra information, and we call it defining (restrictive) adjective clause, that uses without any commas.

Examples: The book which is on the table is the grammar book.

In this case, the adjective clause “which is on the table” is defining(restrictive) adjective clause because it identifies the book

  • Unnecessary and not important extra information, and we call it a non-defining (non-restrictive) adjective clause. This last used with commas.

Examples: Paris, which occurs in france, had an earthquake yesterday

I this lesson we have seen what an adjective clause is, its types, and who it functions within a sentence.

You can check out the following lessons too for better understanding:

dependent and independent clauses.