USE AN ESSENTIAL (RESTRICTIVE) ADJECTIVE

A subordinate clause = a group of words with a subject and predicate, but dependent on the rest of the sentence to make sense.

Essential (restrictive) = necessary or essential to meaning.

An adjective = a word that modifies a noun or pronoun.

An essential (restrictive) adjective clause = a group of dependent words with a subject and a predicate, modifying a noun or pronoun in the main part of the sentence and essential to the meaning of the sentence.

This type of clause does not take commas.

Only five words serve as openers for these clauses: who, whom, that, whose. Who, whom, and whose refer to people or persons; that refers to animals and things.  DO NOT USE “that” TO REFER TO PEOPLE!

EXAMPLES (with dependent clauses in bold type)

1.  Students who plan to enter the university in the fall quarter should forward transcripts of their records to the registrar.

2.  The man who stole the horse shall regret his transgression.

3.  Sir, you speak of the woman whom I love!

4.  Patients who sit in the first row will be vaccinated against impatience.

5.  I saw the mountain that you described

6.  The rabid dog next door that bit the mailman remains my best friend:  I no longer receive junk mail!
7.  Customers who are caught shoplifting will be prosecuted.

USE A NON-ESSENTIAL (NON-RESTRICTIVE) ADJECTIVE CLAUSE

A subordinate clause = a group of words with a subject and a predicate, but which are dependent upon the rest of the sentence to make sense.

Non-essential = not necessary, not essential to meaning.

An adjective = a word that modifies a noun or pronoun.

A non-essential (non-restrictive) adjective clause = a group of dependent words with a subject and a predicate, modifying the noun or pronoun in the main part of the sentence by providing additional information not essential to the meaning of the sentence.

Non-essential adjective clauses require commas.

Four words serve as openers for these clauses: who, whom, whose, which.  Who, whom, and whose refer to persons; which refers to animals and things.  The word “that” cannot introduce a non-essential adjective clause.

EXAMPLES (with the clauses in bold type)

1.  I have assigned to your department Jeffery Lebowski, who will soon proceed to the local bowling alley.

2.  We took tea with the perplexed local police inspector, who never really understood Tiger’s explanations.

3.  He introduced me to his wife, whom he obviously adored.

4.  The author, whom many critics blasted, has written a best-seller.

5.  Lars, whose escapades had made headlines, decided to remain in hiding for awhile.

6.  Many people sought out Aristotle, whose wisdom spread through the ancient world.

7.  She would soon find out about the Nationalist Party, which ruled China at that time.

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