Relative clauses (Определительные придаточные) En

 Relative clauses (Определительные придаточные)



It is important to understand the difference between two kinds of relative clauses.


Defining relative (DR) clauses qualify a noun, and tell us exactly which person or thing is being referred to.

She likes people who are good fun to be with.

Politicians who tell lies are odious.

A corkscrew is a thing you use to open a bottle of wine.


She likes people on its own doesn't mean very much; we need to know which people she likes.

who tell lies tells us exactly which politicians are odious. Without it, the speaker is saying that all politicians are odious.

A corkscrew is a thing doesn't make sense on its own.


Non-defining relative (NDR) clauses add secondary information to a sentence, almost as an afterthought.

My friend Andrew, who is Scottish, plays the bagpipes.

Politicians, who tell lies, are odious.

My favourite plane is Concorde, which has been flying for over twenty-five years.

My friend Andrew is clearly defined. We don't need to know which Andrew is being discussed. The clause who is Scottish gives us extra information about him.

The clause who tell lies suggests that all politicians tell lies. It isn't necessary to identify only those that deceive - they all do!

We all know which plane Concorde is. The following clause simply tells us something extra.


3 DR clauses are much more common in the spoken language, and NDR clauses are more common in the written language. In the spoken language, we can avoid a NDR clause.

My friend Andrew plays the bagpipes. He's Scottish, by the way.


4 When we speak, there is no pause before or after a DR clause, and no commas when we write. With NDR clauses, there are commas before and after, and pauses when we speak.

I like the things you say to me. (No commas, no pauses)

My aunt (pause), who has been a widow for twenty years (pause), loves travelling.


Defining relative clauses


1 Notice how we can leave out the relative pronoun if it is the object of the relative clause. This is very common.

Pronoun left out

Did you like the present ( ) I gave you?

Who was that man ( ) you were talking to?

The thing ( ) I like about Dave is his sense of humour.


2 We cannot leave out the pronoun if it is the subject of the clause.

Pronoun not left out

I met a man who works in advertising.

I'll lend you the book that changed my life.

The thing that helped me most was knowing I wasn't alone.

3 Here are the possible pronouns. The words in brackets are possible, but not as common. __ means nothing.







Subject Object


who (that)

___ (that)


that (which)

___ (that)




• That is preferred to which after superlatives, and words such as all, every (thing), some(thing), any(thing), andonly.

That's the funniest film that was ever made.

All that's left is a few slices of ham.

Give me something that'll take away the pain.

He's good at any sport that is played with a ball.

The only thing that'll help you is rest.


• That is also preferred after it is...

It is a film that will be very popular.


 Prepositions usually come at the end of the relative clause.

Come and meet the people I work with.

This is the book I was telling you about.

She's a friend I can always rely on.

Non-defining relative clauses

1 Relative pronouns cannot be left out of NDR clauses.

Relative pronoun as subject

Paul Jennings, who has written several books, addressed the meeting.

His last book, which received a lot of praise, has been a great success.

Relative pronoun as object

Paul Jennings, who I knew at university, addressed the meeting.

His last book, which I couldn't understand at all, has been a great success.

2 Look at the possible pronouns. Whom is possible, but not as common.







Subject Object


..., who ... ,

..., who (whom) ...,


..., which ...,

..., which ...,




Prepositions can come at the end of the clause.

He talked about theories of market forces, which I'd never even heard of.

In a more formal written style, prepositions come before the pronoun.

The privatisation of railways, to which the present government is committed, is not universally popular.



Which can be used in NDR clauses to refer to the whole of the sentence before.

She arrived on time, which amazed everybody.

He gambled away all his money, which I thought was ridiculous.

The coffee machine isn't working, which means we can't have any coffee.


Whose can be used in both DR clauses and NDR clauses.

That's the woman whose son was killed recently.

My parents, whose only interest is gardening, never go away on holiday.


What is used in DR clauses to mean the thing that.

Has she told you what's worrying her?

What I need to know is where we're meeting.


why, when, where

1 Why can be used in DR clauses to mean the reason why.

I don't know why we're arguing.

When and where can be used in DR clauses and NDR clauses.

Tell me when you expect to arrive.

The hotel where we stayed was excellent.

We go walking on Mondays, when the rest of the world is working.

He works in Oxford, where my sister lives.



1 When present participles (-ing) are used like adjectives or adverbs, they are active in meaning. Modern art isinteresting.

Pour boiling water onto the pasta.

She sat in the corner crying.


2 When past participles (-ed) are used like adjectives or adverbs, they are passive in meaning.

I'm interested in modern art.

Look at that broken doll.

He sat in his chair, filled with horror at what he had just seen.


3 Participles after a noun define and identify in the same way as relative clauses.

I met a woman riding a donkey. (= who was riding ...)

The car stolen in the night was later found abandoned. (= that was stolen ...)


4 Participles can be used as adverbs. They can describe

• two actions that happen at the same time.

She sat by the fire reading a book.

• two actions that happen one after another.

Opening his case, he took out a gun.

If it is important to show that the first action is completed before the second action begins, we use the perfect participle.

Having finished lunch, we set off on our journey.

Having had a shower, she got dressed.


• two actions that happen one because of another.

Being mean, he never bought anyone a Christmas present.

Not knowing what to do, I waited patiently.


5 Many verbs are followed by -ing forms.

I spent the holiday reading.

Don't waste time thinking about the past.

Let's go swimming.

He keeps on asking me to go out with him.


Infinitive clauses

In indirect speech, we can use an infinitive after certain question words and whether. This expresses ideas such as obligation and possibility.

I don't know who to speak to.

Tell me where to go.

Show me how to make this dish.

You need to tell me when to arrive.

I can't decide whether to go to the party or not.



На нашем сайте вы можете найти нужную Вам информацию об обучении в различных странах мира, России и СНГ. Интересные статьи помогут Вам разобраться, куда направиться учиться, какие методики выбрать для более эффективного изучения иностранных языков. Здесь так же представлен обзор курсов английского языка, а также подборка ресурсов для прохождения онлайн тестов. Онлайн тесты помогают оценить начальные знания изучающего иностранный язык. Это нужно для того, чтобы узнать, какие методики обучения иностранного языка подходят, позволяют понять уровень подготовки человека. Есть помощь для предэкзаменационной подготовки для школьников и студентов. Учителя могут найти для себя интересные наработки по обучению. Подводя итог об этом разделе можно сказать следующее: здесь можно найти практически все, что касается обучения английскому языку, приятного просмотра!