What Is an Adjective Clause?

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In the sentence 'The room that you reserved is not ready for the meeting', the adjective clause is an essential component of the sentence.

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In English grammar, an adjective clause is a dependent clause used as an adjective within a sentence. Also known as an adjectival clause or a relative clause.

An adjective clause usually begins with a relative pronoun (which, that, who, whom, whose), a relative adverb (where, when, why), or a zero relative.

See Examples below. Also, see:

Exercises

Types of Adjectives Clauses

There are two basic types of adjective clauses:

  • "The first type is the nonrestrictive or nonessential adjective clause. This clause simply gives extra information about the noun. In the sentence, 'My older brother's car, which he bought two years ago, has already needed many repairs,' the adjective clause, 'which he bought two years ago,' is nonrestrictive or nonessential. It provides extra information.
  • "The second type is the restrictive or essential adjective clause. It offers essential [information] and is needed to complete the sentence's thought. In the sentence, 'The room that you reserved for the meeting is not ready,' the adjective clause, 'that you reserved for the meeting,' is essential because it restricts which room."
    - Jack Umstatter, Got Grammar? Wiley, 2007

Examples

  • "He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead."
    - Albert Einstein
  • "Creatures whose mainspring is curiosity enjoy the accumulating of facts far more than the pausing at times to reflect on those facts." - Clarence Day
  • "Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh." - W. H. Auden
  • "Short, fat, and of a quiet disposition, he appeared to spend a lot of money on really bad clothes, which hung about his squat frame like skin on a shrunken toad." - John le Carré, Call for the Dead, 1961