Sentence Building with Adjective Clauses

Exercises in Building and Combining Sentences

Writing
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In our study of adjective clauses, we've learned the following:

  1. The adjective clause--a word group that modifies a noun--is a common form of subordination.
  2. An adjective clause usually begins with a relative pronoun.
  3. The two main types of adjective clauses are restrictive and nonrestrictive.

Now we're ready to practice building and combining sentences with adjective clauses.

Consider how these two sentences can be combined:

My mp3 player fell apart after a few weeks.
My mp3 player cost over $200.

By substituting the relative pronoun which for the subject of the second sentence, we can create a single sentence containing an adjective clause:

My mp3 player, which cost over $200, fell apart after a few weeks.

Or we may choose to substitute which for the subject of the first sentence:

My mp3 player, which fell apart after a few weeks, cost over $200.

Put what you think is the main idea in the main clause, the secondary (or subordinate) idea in the adjective clause. And keep in mind that an adjective clause usually appears after the noun it modifies.

PRACTICE: Building Sentences with Adjective Clauses
Combine the sentences in each set into a single, clear sentence with at least one adjective clause. Subordinate the information that you think is of secondary importance. When you are done, compare your new sentences with the sample combinations below.

Keep in mind that many combinations are possible, and in some cases you may prefer your own sentences to the original versions.

  1. The first alarm clock woke the sleeper by gently rubbing his feet.
    The first alarm clock was invented by Leonardo da Vinci.
  2. Some children have not received flu shots.
    These children must visit the school doctor.
  1. Success encourages the repetition of old behavior.
    Success is not nearly as good a teacher as failure.
  2. I showed the arrowhead to Rachel.
    Rachel's mother is an archaeologist.
  3. Merdine was born in a boxcar.
    Merdine was born somewhere in Arkansas.
    Merdine gets homesick every time she hears the cry of a train whistle.
  4. The space shuttle is a rocket.
    The rocket is manned.
    This rocket can be flown back to earth.
    This rocket can be reused.
  5. Henry Aaron played baseball.
    Henry Aaron played with the Braves.
    Henry Aaron played for 20 years.
    Henry Aaron was voted into the Hall of Fame.
    The vote was taken in 1982.
  6. Oxygen is colorless.
    Oxygen is tasteless.
    Oxygen is odorless.
    Oxygen is the chief life-supporting element of all plant life.
    Oxygen is the chief life-supporting element of all animal life.
  7. Bushido is the traditional code of honor of the samurai.
    Bushido is based on the principle of simplicity.
    Bushido is based on the principle of honesty.
    Bushido is based on the principle of courage.
    Bushido is based on the principle of justice.
  8. Merdine danced on the roof.
    It was the roof of her trailer.
    Merdine danced during the thunderstorm.
    The thunderstorm flooded the county.
    The thunderstorm was last night.

When you have completed all ten sets, compare your new sentences with the sample combinations below.

  1. The first alarm clock, which woke the sleeper by gently rubbing his feet, was invented by Leonardo da Vinci.
  2. Children who have not received flu shots must visit the school doctor.
  3. Success, which encourages the repetition of old behavior, is not nearly as good a teacher as failure.
  4. I showed the arrowhead to Rachel, whose mother is an archaeologist.
  5. Merdine, who was born in a boxcar somewhere in Arkansas, gets homesick every time she hears the cry of a train whistle.
  6. The space shuttle is a manned rocket that can be flown back to earth and reused.
  7. Henry Aaron, who played baseball with the Braves for 20 years, was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.
  8. Oxygen--which is colorless, tasteless, and odorless--is the chief life-supporting element of all plant and animal life.
  9. Bushido, which is the traditional code of honor of the samurai, is based on the principles of simplicity, honesty, courage, and justice.
  1. Merdine danced on the roof of her trailer during the thunderstorm that flooded the county last night.

See also: Combining Sentences and Building Paragraphs With Adjective Clauses