A. DEFINING RELATIVE CLAUSES
They define the person, thing or animal we are talking about. Without them, the sentence has no meaning.
1. The woman who won the race comes from Africa.
2. The car that James is using is his mother's.
3. There's the boy whose father was on TV.
4. This is the hospital where I was born.
- We can leave out the relative pronoun when it is the object of the relative clause:
The man (who / that) I saw in the restaurant is Jenny's father.
This is the car (which / that) we want to buy.
- The relative clause comes immediately after the noun it relates to:
The girl who lives next door has a new puppy.
Jenny has a cat which / that is ten years old.
- DO NOT use a personal pronoun or a possessive adjective after a relative pronoun (who/ which / that / whose) :
DO NOT say: The book which it is on the table is my father's.
SAY: The book which is on the table is my father's.
DO NOT say: This is the man whose his daughter is my best friend.
SAY: This is the man whose daughter is my best friend.
B. NON-DEFINING RELATIVE CLAUSES
They add extra information and the sentence makes sense without them.
1. My uncle Jim, who lives in England, is coming to visit us tomorrow.
2. John, whose father is an actor, is in my class.
3. Julia's house, which is in the country, is going to be sold.
- Non-defining relative clauses are always separated from the rest of the sentence by commas.
London, where my brother studied, is a very beautiful city.
- "That" cannot be used instead of "who" or "which":
Our cat, which is very naughty, ate the goldfish.
Mrs White, who is my English teacher, is from England.
It is very important to separate a non-defining relative clause from the rest of the sentence by commas.
Julia's house, which is in the country, is going to be sold.
(= Non-defining relative clause. Julia has only one house, it is in the country and she's going to sell it.)
Julia's house which is in the country is going to be sold.
(= Defining relative clause. Julia has more than one house. She is going to sell the one in the country.)