A complex sentence is made up of an independent clause and a dependent clause. Example: The television was playing (independent clause which can stand alone and make sense) as I left the room (dependent clause which must be attached to the independent clause to make sense). There are three kinds of dependent clauses: adjective clause, adverb clause and noun clause.
The adjective clause is used to modify a noun or a pronoun. It will begin with a relative pronoun (who, whose, whom, which, and that) or a subordinate conjunction (when and where). Those are the only words that can be used to introduce an adjective clause. The introductory word will always rename the word that it follows and modifies except when used with a preposition which will come between the introductory word and the word it renames. Examples: The student whose hand was up gave the wrong answer. Whose hand was up is the adjective clause with whose, the relative pronoun, renaming and modifying student. Jane is a person in whom I can place my confidence. In whom I can place my confidence is the adjective clause with whom, the relative pronoun, with the preposition inbetween it and person, the word that whom renames and modifies.
Instructions: Find the adjective clause in the following sentences and tell which word it modifies.
1. This is a matter about which there was much discussion.
2. It is the man on your left who will be the next principal.
3. The car whose license plate I could not read sped quickly away.
4. Did you find the opening where the sheep got through?
5. The man whom you admire greatly will be the next speaker.
–For answers scroll down.
1. about which there was much discussion modifies matter
2. who will be the next principal modifies man (prepositional phrase again separating the word renamed)
3. whose license plate I could not read modifies car
4. where the sheep got through modifies opening
5. whom you admire greatly modifies man
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