Understanding Adjective Clauses

Hello, welcome to our teaching series where you can learn English online. Today in continuation of our previous lessons on knowing the clause, we will be looking at adjective clauses. Previously we talked of the noun clause which does the work of a noun and can replace the noun in the sentence.

Adjectives clauses, first of all, are dependent clauses. From our previous lessons (please check previous blog posts), we learnt that dependent clauses need the main clause to complete their meaning hence they must be attached to the main clause to send a complete message. Typically an adjective clause performs the modification of the pronoun or the noun. By modification in this regards, it tells us more about the noun or pronoun in the sentence. It could be some kind of description added to the noun.

adjective clauses

In most cases, adjective clauses in a sentence begin with pronouns like which, whom, when, where. After that follows (in most conditions) the words it modifies. Adjective clauses can come as a group of words, having a verb, a subject. Also, adjective clauses can start with adverbs like why, where etc.

Adjective clauses just like adverb clauses start with a subordinator. For the purposes of making our courses understandable English for beginners, we will have to revisit the English vocabulary “subordinator”. So what is a subordinator in the English language? Briefly, the subordinator joins the adjective clause to what it is modifying in the main clause.

Most importantly, we must understand that the major responsibility of the adjective clause is giving us more information about what it is modifying which is most times a pronoun or possibly a noun. So let us at this point examine some practical examples of adjective clauses to make the point clearer.

Bilhar, who has been serving him for years, is now the director

The adjective clause there is underline who has been serving him for years.

In this sentence, the adjective clause tells us more about Bilhar.

The sentence could just be as simple as Bilhar is now the director but the adjective clause here (which is who has been serving him for years) tells us more about Bilhar. Hence it is modifying Jude.


The time is 3.00pm.

The time when the bus arrives is 3.00pm.

Now, look at these two sentences. The first is very simple The time is 3.00pm. The second one has the group of words when the bus arrives telling us more about the time. This group of words is an adjective clause. It modifies the time.

The diamond ring which Bruce bought for her, cost over $100,000.


The adjective clause here is which Bruce bought for her. It tells us more about the diamond ring.

Here is one last one for you.


We have found the girl whose leg was hurt yesterday.


Can you identify the adjective clause?

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