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COMPLEX SENTENCES WITH ADJECTIVE CLAUSES

A. Complex Sentence

Essentially a complex sentence is composed of more than one sentence. A sentence is a set of words that at least has a subject (S) and a predicate (P), and an object (O) if there is any, and that has a complete meaning. Basically, a complex sentence consists of more than one simple sentence. A simple sentence is a sentence that has one S, one P, and one O if necessary. Consequently, a complex sentence has more than one S, one P, and one O if there is any . A sentence that exists in a complex sentence is called a clause. Then, a complex sentence has two kinds of clauses: a main clause (an independent clause) and a sub(ordinate) clause (a dependent clause). A main clause is a clause that can stand by itself in the sense that it has a complete meaning in the absence of a sub clause. Conversely, a sub clause is a clause which depends on a main clause, and which means nothing without a main clause. In short, a complex sentence is a sentence which has more than one S, one P, and one O if necessary; which has a main clause and a sub clause; and which has a complete meaning. Here, an adjective clause does the function of a sub clause. In the other word, an adjective clause is always a sub clause; however, a sub clause is not always an adjective clause. (See Adverbial Clause)

B. Adjective Clause

An adjective clause consists of the words adjective and clause. An adjective is a word modifying a noun. Thus, an adjective clause is a clause that modifies a noun, or that substitutes the function of an adjective. A noun that an adjective clause modifies is called a noun antecedent. Noun antecedents can be (a) person(s), (a) thing(s), (a) place(s), (a) time(s), and (a) reason(s). Words connecting adjective clauses with noun antecedents, the positions of which precede adjective clauses, are named relative pronouns and relative adverbs. Relative pronouns comprise who, whom, whose, which, (not question words), and that (not a demonstrative pronoun or adjective). Relative adverbs consist of where, when, and why. The use of a relative pronoun or a relative adverb, each of which exists in an adjective clause, should be in accordance with the kind of a noun antecedent.

C. The Function of a Relative Pronoun

Relative prounouns have four functions, namely:
  1. A relative pronoun functions as the subject of a predicate when the relative pronoun is followed by a predicate, and such a relative pronoun cannot be omitted.
  2. A relative pronoun functions as the object of a predicate containing a verb without a preposition when the relative pronoun is followed by a subject with such a predicate, and such a relative pronoun can be omitted.
  3. A relative pronoun functions as the object of a predicate containing a verb with a preposition when the relative pronoun is followed by a subject with such a predicate, and such a relative pronoun can be omitted if the preposition is put at the end of a verb.
  4. A relative pronoun functions as a possessive adjective when the relative pronoun is used to substitute a pronoun functioning as a possessive adjective.

D. Various Uses of Relative Pronouns

The relative pronoun which is used with the noun antecedent (a) person (s) preceding it, and which functions as the subject of a predicate is who. Study the following examples:

  • They (S) know (P) the technician (O). (simple sentence) 
  • He (S) is fixing (P) my laptop (O). (simple sentence)
  • The above two simple sentences can be combined with the relative pronoun as follows:
  • They (S) know (P) the technician (O) who (S) is fixing (P) my laptop (O).
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... who (S) is fixing (P) my laptop (O).". "They (S) know (P) the technician (O) ...." is a main clause, which has a complete meaning without the sub clause "... who (S) is fixing (P) my laptop (O).", which means nothing without the above main clause, and such a sub clause is called an adjective clause because the sub clause modifies a noun antecedent, that is, "... technician ....". "... who ...." is the relative pronoun that can be used in the above complex sentence, because the relative pronoun functions as the subject of a predicate, that is, "... is fixing ....", and because the noun antecedent is a person, namely "... technician ....", and the relative pronoun cannot be omitted because it has such a function.

  • The lady (S) is my secretary (P). (simple sentence)
  • She (S) is typing (P) in the room (Adjunct). (simple sentence)
  • The above two simple sentences can be combined with the relative pronoun as follows:
  • The lady (S) who (S) is typing (P) in the room (Adjunct) is my secretary (P).
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... who (S) is typing (P) in the room (Adjunct) ....".

  • The ladies (S) are my secretaries (P). (simple sentence) 
  • They (S) are typing (P) in the room (Adjunct). (simple sentence)
  • The above two simple sentences can be combined with the relative pronoun as follows:
  • The ladies (S) who (S) are typing (P) in the room (Adjunct) are my secretaries (P).
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... who (S) are typing (P) in the room (Adjunct) ....".

The relative pronoun which is used with the noun antecedent (a) person (s) preceding it, and which functions as the object of a predicate containing a verb without a preposition is whomStudy the following example:

  • She (S) paid (P) the man (O). (simple sentence) 
  • She (S) had hired (P) him (O). (simple sentence)
  • The above two simple sentences can be combined with the relative pronoun as follows:
  • She (S) paid (P) the man (O) whom (O) she (S) had hired (P).
  • [= She (S) paid (P) the man she (S) had hired (P)
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... whom (O) she (S) had hired (P).".

The relative pronoun which is used with the noun antecedent (a) person (s) preceding it, and which functions as the object of a predicate containing a verb with a preposition is whom. Study the following example:

  • She (S) paid (P) the man (O). (simple sentence) 
  • She (S) had borrowed (P) the money (DO) (Direct Object) from him (IO) (Indirect Object) / (PO) (Prepositional Object). (simple sentence)
  • The above two simple sentences can be combined with the relative pronoun as follows:
  • She (S) paid (P) the man (O) from whom (PO) she (S) had borrowed (P) the money (DO).
  • [= She (S) paid (P) the man (O) whom (PO) she (S) had borrowed (P) the money (DO) (direct object) from
  • [= She (S) paid (P) the man (O) she (S) had borrowed (P) the money (DO) (direct object) from
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... from whom (PO) she (S) had borrowed (P) the money (DO).".

The relative pronoun which is used with the noun antecedent (a) person (s) preceding it, and which functions as a Possessive Adjective (PA) is whoseStudy the following example:

  • The manager (S) has just called (P) me (O). (simple sentence)
  • His (PA) secretary (S) offered (P) me (IO) a job (DO) yesterday (Adjunct). (simple sentence)
  • The above two simple sentences can be combined with the relative pronoun as follows:
  • The manager (S) whose (PA) secretary (S) offered (P) me (IO) a job (DO) yesterday (Adjunct) has just called (P) me (O).
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... whose (PA) secretary (S) offered (P) me (IO) a job (DO) yesterday (Adjunct) ....".

The relative pronoun which is used with the noun antecedent (a) thing (s) preceding it, and which functions as the subject of a predicate is which (= or that)Study the following examples:

  • Input and output (S) are handled (P) by machines (O). (simple sentence)
  • The machines (S) are called (P) I/O devices (SC) (Subjective Complement). (simple sentence)
  • The above two simple sentences can be combined with the relative pronoun as follows:
  • Input and output (S) are handled (P) by machines (O) which (= or that) (S) are called (P) I/O devices (SC).
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... which (= or that) (S) are called (P) I/O devices (SC).".

  • The data (S) is called (P) the input (SC). (simple sentence)
  • The data (S) is presented (P) to the computer (PO / IO). (simple sentence)
  • The above two simple sentences can be combined with the relative pronoun as follows:
  • The data (S) which (= or that) (S) is presented (P) to the computer (PO / IO) is called (P) the input (SC).
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... which (= or that) (S) is presented (P) to the computer (PO / IO) ....".

  • The services (S) are useful (P). (simple sentence)
  • The workers (S) provide (P) the services (O). (simple sentence)
  • The above two simple sentences can be combined with the relative pronoun as follows:
  • The services (S) which (= or that) (O) the workers (S) provide (P) are useful (P).
  • [= The services (S) the workers (S) provide (P) are useful (P)]
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... which (= or that) (S) is presented (P) to the computer (PO / IO) ....".

  • The department (S) is systems operations (P). (simple sentence)
  • He (S) works (P) in the department (Adjunct). (simple sentence)
  • The above two simple sentences can be combined with the relative pronoun as follows:
  • The department (S) in which (O) he (S) works (P) is systems operations (P).
  • [= The department (S) which (O) he (S) works (P) in is systems operations (P)]
  • [= The department (S) that (O) he (S) works (P) in is systems operations (P)]
  • [= The department (S) where (Relative Adverb) he (S) works (P) is systems operation (P)]
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... in which (O) he (S) works (P) ....".

  • The laptop (S) is mine (P). (simple sentence)
  • The color of the laptop (S) is black (P). (simple sentence)
  • The above two simple sentences can be combined with the relative pronoun as follows:
  • The laptop (S), the color of which (S) is black (P), is mine (P). [(American English) (formal)]
  • [= The laptop (S), of which the colour (S) is black (P), is mine (P)] [(British English) (formal)]
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... the color of which (S) is black (P) ....".
  • The laptop (S) is mine (P). (simple sentence)
  • Its color (S) is black (P). (simple sentence)
  • The above two simple sentences can be combined with the relative pronoun as follows:
  • The laptop (S), whose color (S) is black (P), is mine (P) (informal).

The relative pronoun is used after both of, neither of, or either of, etc. with the noun antecedent (a)person(s)Study the following examples:

  • She (S) has (P) two brothers (O). (simple sentence)
  • Both of them (S) major in (P) Informatics (PO). (simple sentence)

  • She (S) has (P) two brothers (O). (simple sentence)
  • Neither of them (S) majors in (P) Informatics (PO). (simple sentence)

  • She (S) has (P) two brothers (O). (simple sentence)
  • Either of them (S) majors in (P) Informatics (PO). (simple sentence)

  • The above three pairs of simple sentences can be successively combined with the relative pronouns as follows:

  • She (S) has (P) two brothers (O), both of whom (S) major in (P) Informatics (PO).
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... both of whom (S) major in (P) Informatics (PO).".

  • She (S) has (P) two brothers (O), neither of whom (S) majors in (P) Informatics (PO).
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... neither of whom (S) majors in (P) Informatics (PO).".

  • She (S) has (P) two brothers (O), either of whom (S) majors in (P) Informatics (PO).
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... either of whom (S) major in (P) Informatics (PO).".

  • Ten people (S) applied for (P) the job (PO). (simple sentence)
  • Most of them (S) were very qualified (P). (simple sentence)

  • The above two simple sentences can be combined with the relative pronoun as follows:

  • Ten people (S), most of whom (S) were very qualified (P), applied for (P) the job (PO).
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... most of whom (S) were very qualified (P) ....".

The relative pronoun is used after both of, neither of, or either of, etc. with the noun antecedent (a)thing(s)Study the following examples:

  • He (S) has (P) two PCs (O). (simple sentence)
  • Both of them (S) are sophisticated (P). (simple sentence)

  • He (S) has (P) two PCs (O). (simple sentence)
  • Neither of them (S) is sophisticated (P). (simple sentence)

  • He (S) has (P) two PCs (O). (simple sentence)
  • Either of them (S) is sophisticated (P). (simple sentence)

  • The above three pairs of simple sentences can be successively combined with the relative pronouns as follows:

  • He (S) has (P) two PCs (O), both of which (S) are sophisticated (P).
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... both of which (S) are sophisticated (P).".

  • He (S) has (P) two PCs (O), neither of which (S) is sophisticated (P).
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... neither of which (S) is sophisticated (P).".

  • He (S) has (P) two PCs (O), either of which (S) is sophisticated (P).
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... either of which (S) is sophisticated (P).".

  • Tom (S) made (P) a number of suggestions (O). (simple sentence)
  • Most of the suggestions (S) were very helpful (P). (simple sentence)

  • The above two simple sentences can be combined with the relative pronoun as follows:

  • Tom (S)made (P) a number of suggestions (O), most of which (S) were very helpful (P).
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... most of which (S) were very helpful (P).".

  • They (S) gave (P) us (IO) a lot of information (DO). (simple sentence)
  • Most of the information (S) was very useful (P). (simple sentence)

  • The above two simple sentences can be combined with the relative pronoun as follows:

  • They (S) gave (P) us (IO) a lot of information (DO), most of which (S) was very useful (P).
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... most of which (S) was very useful (P).".

The relative adverb where with the noun antecedent (a) place(s)

  • The department (S) where (in / at which) he (S) works (P) is systems operation (P).
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... where (in / at whichhe (S) works (P) ....". 

The relative adverb when with the noun antecedent (a) time(s)

  • Do you (S) remember (P) the year (O) when (in which) you (S) began working (P) at this company (adjunct)?
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... when (in whichyou (S) began working (P) at this company (adjunct)?".

The relative adverb why with the noun antecedent (a) reason(s)

  • I (S) want to know (P) the reason (O) why she (S) does not like (P) this job (O).
  • It is a complex sentence containing the adjective clause "... why she (S) does not like (P) this job (O).".

Non essential (non defining / non restrictive) adjective clauses

The adjective clause that belongs to a non essential adjective clause is separated with (a) coma(s). The use of the adjective clause is additional in the sense that the meaning of the main clause is already clear in spite of the fact that such an adjective clause is omitted. Besides, with a non essential adjective clause, the number of the noun antecedent is not more than as it exists.

  • Tom, whose father is the manager of a company, helped me to get a job.
  • I have two brothers, who work at the Embassy.

Essential (defining / restrictive) adjective clauses

The adjective clause that belongs to an essential adjective clause is not separated with (a) coma(s). The use of the adjective clause is a must in the sense that the meaning of the main clause is not clear when such an adjective clause is omitted. Besides, with an essential adjective clause, the number of the noun antecedent is can be more than as it exists.

  • I have two brothers who work at the Embassy.
  • The girl whose father is the manager of a company helped me to get a job.
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