Relative Clauses

(Also Called Adjective Clauses)

Relative Clauses are…

  • a relative pronoun + verb phrase
  • a relative pronoun + an independent clause
  • a relative adverb + verb phrase
  • a relative adverb + an independent clause

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If a relative clause
is an essential part
of the noun,
use “that” and no commas.

The baseball game
that starts at 3pm
was cancelled this morning. 

If a relative clause
simply adds information
about the noun,
use “which” and commas.

The baseball team,
which has a new pitcher,
should be strong this year. 

Sometimes, the relative pronoun
or relative adverb is not used:

“I want to see that movie
that Tom recommended.”

“I want to see that movie
Tom recommended.”

Both are correct.