A dependent clause:
- Has a subject.
- Has a verb.
- Is not a complete sentence without an accompanying independent clause.
The adjective clause (relative clause)
- Modifies the noun it immediately follows.
- State of being verbs and pronouns in the adjective clause must agree with their antecedent from the main clause (independent clause).
- Starts with a relative pronoun or relative adverb:
- who [n]
- whom [n]
- whose [n]
- which [n] (used in a nonrestrictive relative clause, see below)
- that [n] (used in a restrictive relative clause, see below)
- when [adv]
- where [adv]
- why [adv] (typically follows the word "reason")
- Caution: Some of the words above can be invisible. In other words, they are implied but may not actually appear in the sentence. Nice, huh?
- Can be completely removed from the sentence without affecting the meaning of the sentence.
- Have very particular comma rules:
- A restrictive clause narrows a general noun to someone or something more specific than the noun itself reveals; do not use commas.
- A nonrestrictive clause comments on a proper noun or other specific noun; use commas.
- Don't confuse a nonrestrictive relative clause with an appositive.
The musician who was playing the trumpet sounded terrible.
John, who was playing the trumpet, sounded terrible
His car, which was yellow, was a Toyota Prius.
The car that was yellow was a Toyota Prius.