Adjective Clause and its usability in IELTS & PTE

ADJECTIVE CLAUSE OR RELATIVE CLAUSE

ADJECTIVE CLAUSE OR RELATIVE CLAUSE

I have seen in many students' essays that they often use 'that' and 'which' without knowing their proper use. Do you know that there are some rules for using such words in writing which you should know before you start preparing for IELTS and PTE tests? In this article, I will discuss important things to take care while writing such sentences.  

Fist of all, let us understand what is an adjective clause.
An adjective clause is a type of dependent clause that gives some additional or important information about the noun in a sentence. An adjective clause generally presents its own idea or information in a sentence in addition to the main or central idea of the sentence. Thus, a sentence with an adjective clause presents two ideas to the reader or listener, and it helps to form a complex sentence. An adjective clause has its own subject and verb.


What forms the adjective clause? 
The following pronouns/adverbs help to form the adjective clause:

Relative Pronouns:
Who
Whom
Whose
That 
Which

Relative Adverbs:
When
Where
Why
How

These words are also called as conjunctions. 

The most important thing to know about the adjective clause is that it almost always follows the noun or the pronoun that it qualifies. 

For example:

1. The student who stood first in the third standard is from Melbourne. 

    Here the pronoun 'who' forms the adjective clause and gives information about the noun 'student'.

2. He is working in the same office where Mark is working. 

    Here the pronoun 'where' forms the adjective clause and gives information about the noun 'office'.


The second important thing to know about the adjective clause is about its two types and comma placement in the adjective clause.

Basically, there are two types of adjective clauses.

1. Modifying /  non-essential / non-restrictive 
In this type, the information provided by the adjective clause is extra information, which means if we remove the adjective clause from the sentence, the meaning of the sentence will not change. 

For example:

Steve, who stood first in the third standard, is from Melbourne. 

Here if we remove the adjective clause from the main clause, it will not change the main meaning of the sentence. Thus, the sentence 'Steve is from Melbourne' conveys its central idea even without the adjective clause. 

The important thing to know here is that all modifying adjective clauses are placed within the commas i.e we should put commas across the adjective clauses in such sentences. Notice the use of the comma in the above example. 

2. Identifying /  essential / restrictive 
In this type, the information provided by the adjective clause is essential and important information, which means if we remove the adjective clause from the sentence, the meaning of the sentence will change. 

For example: 

The boy who stood first in the third standard is from Melbourne. 

Here, if we remove the adjective clause from the sentence, the meaning of the sentence will change.

The boy is from Melbourne. 

Which boy? Thus, the sentence does not make it clear which boy is from Melbourne. However, in the original sentence, it is clear that the boy who stood first is from Melbourne.

Thus, identifying adjective clauses do not need a comma. If we use a comma here, it means we are writing a wrong sentence.


The third important thing to know about the adjective clause is that some of pronouns/adverbs we can use as a subject of an adjective clause while not others. 

The pronouns 'that', 'which' and 'who' often forms the subject of an adjective clause.

For example:

The boy who stood first in the third standard is from Melbourne. 
Here the pronoun 'who' is the subject of the adjective clause and 'stood' is the verb.

Another example:

The gladiator, which is an action movie, won an Oscar. 
Here the pronoun 'which' is the subject of the adjective clause. 

Apart from these, all other pronouns/adverbs, need additional Subject within the adverb clause. 

For example:

He is working in the same office where Mark is working. 
Here Mark is the subject of the adjective clause starting with 'where'. 


The fourth important thing to know about the adjective clause in the context of IELTS or PTE writing that sometimes the adjective clause may not follow the noun directly instead it may follow a situation or condition described by the main clause. But, in such cases, we shall only use 'which' as conjunction. 

For example:

Many candidates haven't appeared for the test this time, which means they have to wait for the next session. 

In the above sentence, 'which' follows the situation.  


Sometimes adjective pronoun/adverb may follow the prepositional phrase instead of the noun directly. 

Many universities also provide video content of the curriculum, which enables learners to comprehend the concepts at ease. 

In the above sentence, the conjunction 'which' follows the word 'curriculum', not the word 'video content', but it is a correct formation as adjective clause follows the prepositional phrase.  


The last and final important thing to know is the difference in the use of 'which' and 'that'.

Which and That can both be used for identifying clause; however preferably use them as below: 

1. Use 'which' for modifying clause

2. Use 'that' for identifying clause.


In the end, I hope the above article will help you a lot in improving your writing and adding more variety to your writing and accurately. 

Good Luck!

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