1. RELATIVE CLAUSESDefining (restrictive)
A defining relative clause refers to the preceding noun.
It gives essential information and therefore it cannot be
omitted. As it is of vital importance for the meaning of the
sentence, we do not put between commas.
People who do not eat meat are called vegeterians.
If we removed the relative clause, who do not eat meat, we would be left
with the following sentence:
*People are called vegeterians.
Which people are vegeterians? All? Definitely not! Only those people
who do not eat meat. Therefore, the relative clause is a MUST here.
It simply specifies which people are vegeterians; it defines the noun from the
3. RELATIVE CLAUSESNon-defining (non-restrictive)
A non-defining relative clause refers to the preceding noun.
It gives additional information and therefore it can be
omitted without causing any confusion or changing of the
meaning. As it is an additional piece of information for the
meaning of the sentence, we put it between commas.
Dublin, which has a population of one million, is a very
If we removed the relative clause, which has a population of one million, we
would be left with the following sentence:
Dublin is a very beautiful city.
As we know the city of Dublin well, the information in the ralative clause,
which has a population of one million, is only additional and the sentence
without it is understood correctly.
The relative clause is put between commas, as it can be omitted.
5. RELATIVE PRONOUNSDEFINING RELATIVE CLAUSES
Who / which / that
who / that – for people
which / that – for things and animals
In defining relative clauses we can use that instead of who/which.
6. RELATIVE PRONOUNSIn defining relative clauses we:
• can omit the relative pronoun, but only as the object of the
following verb. For example:
There is the man (who/whom/that) we met yesterday.
• cannot omit the relative pronoun if it serves as the subject
of the following verb. For example:
She is an actress who/that was awarded an Oscar.
7. RELATIVE PRONOUNSNON-DEFINING RELATIVE CLAUSES
Who / which
who – for people
which – for things and animals
In non-defining relative clauses we cannot use that instead of who/which.
8. RELATIVE ADVERBS•Time: when (=in/on which)
The day when we first met was the happiest in my life.
•Place: where (=in/at/on/to which)
That’s the centre where the conference will be held.
•Reason: why (=for which)
This is why he went to live abroad.