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Humanities LibreTexts Relative Clauses (That)

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    Relative Clauses (That)

    Exercise 24:  Combine the following sentences by making the second sentence a relative clause.  In other words, make the second sentence part of the first sentence.


    We bought a present for our friend.  The present cost $25.00.
    We bought a present that cost $25.00 for our friend.

    1.  The boys brought their ball to the park.  The ball had red stripes.

    2.  A student forgot to do her homework.  The student goes to many parties every night.

    3.  I had to use a wrench to loosen the bolt.  The bolt was old and rusty.

    4.  The car was old and didn't have power steering.  I drove the car last weekend.

    5.  A man was walking down the street alone.  The man kicked a dog for no reason.

    6.  Yesterday, I saw three cats.  The cats had black fur with white noses.

    7.  My friend just bought a fishing boat.  The fishing boat came with twin engines and rods and reels.

    8.  A cake was on the table.  Someone had already taken a bite out of the cake.

    9.  A black dog lives up the street from me.  The dog likes to play Frisbee.

    10.  I lost quite a few books in the fire.  It started in the basement of my house.

    11.  A lot of people in the restaurant were celebrating a wedding.  My wife made me go to the wedding with her.

    Exercise 25:  Please write three sentences of your own with THAT.






    Restrictive [no commas] vs. Non-restrictive [commas] Relative Clauses

    Nonrestrictive clauses and phrases (Nonrestrictive clauses and phrases are used when referring to someone or something that is understood by both the writer and the reader.  In other words, there is only one possibility of whom or what the writer is writing.)

    In the following examples, first I will use a restrictive relative clause and then I will use a non-restrictive relative clause.  Notice the difference.

    A man whom I loved dearly died when I was a teenager.
    My father, whom I loved dearly, died when I was a teenager.

    I spoke to my sons, Alex and André, about going camping next month.
    I spoke to some boys about going camping next month.

    The man who was president when I was in college was assassinated in 1963.
    John F. Kennedy, who was the president when I was in college, was assassinated in 1963.

    The baseball team that plays in Safeco Field is the Seattle Mariners.
    The Seattle Mariners baseball team, which plays in Safeco Field, is my favorite baseball team.

    When trying to decide if you need commas or not, you must decide if the person whom you are writing to knows who or what you are writing about.  It can be VERY difficult even for a native speaker to decide.  For example, note these two sentences.  Think why the first one has two commas, and the second one has no commas.

    My sister, who lives in Rhode Island, has five dogs. The person knows that I have ONLY one sister.

    My sister who lives in Rhode Island has five dogs.  The person doesn’t know how many sisters I have.

    Relative Clauses (Restrictive [no commas] vs. Non-restrictive [commas])

    Exercise 26:  Combine the following sentences by making the second sentence the relative clause, please.  Make sure to add commas wherever necessary.

    1.  The old woman brought her daughter into the doctor’s office.  The old woman was carrying a large purse.

    2.  Frances Brown came into the automobile garage.  All of the mechanics knew her.

    3.  The teacher gave a very interesting lecture yesterday.  He also works in a large corporation.

    4.  The author was a very famous 20th century American author.  He wrote novels and short stories about a Southern town.

    5.  Modern English is a very good English writing textbook.  It was written by Marcella Frank.

    6.  One of my cars has a broken fuel pump.  The pump will cost about $175 to replace.

    7.  My father only went to the 6th grade in school.  He spoke French as his first language.  [Think about how many birth fathers a person can have.]

    8.  The king of Saudi Arabia comes from a very old family.  He is one of the wealthiest people in the world.

    9.  The song was written by Irving Berlin.  It is being played by my son.

    10. “Moonlight Sonata” is being played by my son now.  It was written by Irving Berlin.

    11.  My friend drives a 1990 Toyota.  He bought it two years ago.  [Combine with “who.”]

    12.  I gave the basket to my neighbor Don.  He used to work for Safeway.

    Exercise 27:  Please write three non-restrictive relative clauses of your own.





    3. Relative Clauses (That) is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Don Bissonnette.

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