Exercise 2

Choose the correct relative pronoun or adverb for the following defining and non-defining  relative clauses.

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1This is the place ______ I saw him the last time.

a.
b.
c.

2That's the man ______ daughter has won the lottery.

a.
b.
c.

3Do you know the musician ______ is playing the guitar. Choose TWO correct options

a.
b.
c.

4The painting, ______ was finished in 1850, is one of the most representative works of that time.

a.
b.
c.

5This is the person ______ I introduced you a few weeks ago. Choose TWO correct options

a.
b.
c.

 

 

Defining relative clauses

 
Defining relative clauses carry essential information, because they identify which thing or person we are talking about, and they are used without commas.

  • This is the music which was used at the show
  • Have they found the prisoner who escaped last week?

 

We can use that

 
In defining relative clauses we can use that instead of which or who.

  • This is the music that was used at the show. 
  • Have they found the prisoner that escaped last week?

 

When can we omit who/which/that?

 
Who/which/that, can be omitted if they are followed by subject + verb

  • Can you pass me the box (which/that) I keep in the top drawer?
  • You are not the man (who/that) I thought you were. 

 

Non-defining relative clauses

 
Non-defining relative clauses are used between commas, and they add extra information which is not necessary to know who or what we are talking about.

  • This music, which I really like, was used at the show.
  • My sister, who I truly admire, is coming for Thanksgiving. 

 

We cannot use that, and we cannot omit who/which

 
In non-defining relative clauses (between commas) we cannot use that, and we cannot omit who/which.

  • This music, that I really like, was used at the show. 
  • My sister, I truly admire, is coming for Thanksgiving. 

 

Defining vs non-defining relative clauses

 
In a defining relative clause the information is essential to identify who or what we are talking about, whereas in non-defining relative clauses we just add extra the information, which is not necessary. Compare:

  • My brother who lives in Cardiff is much older than me. (=I have more than one brother and the relative clause helps identify which brother I am talking about)
  • My brother, who lives in Cardiff, is much older than me. (=I have only one brother, so we don’t need the relative clause to know who I am talking about)

 

Relative pronouns and adverbs

 
Here you can see a table with the relative pronouns and adverbs that we normally use in relative clauses.
 
relative pronouns and relative adverbs
 

Common mistakes

 

Two subjects

 
When who, which or that is the subject of a relative clause, we don’t use another pronoun or noun after it, because we can only have one subject (who, which or that).

  • I saw a man who was very tall. (NOT: I saw a man who he was very tall.)
  • That is the painting that was stolen from the gallery. (NOT: That is the painting that it was stolen from the gallery.)

 

that between commas

 
We cannot use the relative pronoun that in a non-defining relative clause (between commas)

  • The victim, who suffered a concussion, said he didn’t remember the accident. (NOT, The victim, that suffered a concussion, said he didn’t remember the accident.)

 


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