Monday, 9 October 2017

A Review of Fine Tune Your English: Chapter Six, The Relative Clause notes

chapter 6
The Relative Clause

The relative Clause or Adjectival clause performs the duty of an adjective in a sentence. It is a group of words with a subject and verb that describes the noun.It is normally introduced by a relative pronoun.
Here is an example from the text:

This is Yahweh who vanquished
Death which killed
The butcher who slew
The Ox which drank
The water which quenched
The fire which burnt
The stick which beat
The cat which killed
The kid which my father bought for two Zuzim
Now look at the above poem. The first line in the main clause is followed by a series of clauses that describes the antecedent. They are relative clauses or adjectival clauses. They wind round the main clause like thread around a ball.
Here you might have noticed that the first and third clauses are introduced by the relative pronoun “who” because the antecedent in either case is a personal noun.( Yahweh is a personal noun, the butcher is also a personal noun). The rest are introduced by the “wh-relative pronoun”, Which.

Now let us deal with the relative clause in detail.
A relative clause functions like an adjective, qualifying a noun( the antecedent)
ex: The evil that men do lives after them
Here the relative clause is “that men do”. It qualifies the noun or the antecedent “evil” .

Same is with the next example from Pope
Here lies that peerless peer Lord Peter
who broke the laws of God , of man and metre.

Sentence Relatives
A sentence relative is a kind of relative clause in which the relative pronoun refers to the whole sentence instead of referring to a single noun.
for ex: Jack showed me a picture which represented me as a monkey. I tore up the picture, which greatly upset jack.
Now look at the part underlined .Here  the relative pronoun “which” introduces the act of tearing up the picture rather than the “picture”. so the relative clause, “which greatly upset Jack” refers to the whole sentence and not a single noun the” picture”.
see another example
A mad man was aiming blows at an imaginary enemy, which amused us very much.
Here too the relative pronoun “which”refers to the whole act of” a man aiming blows at an imaginary enemy”, and not imaginary enemy alone.

Relative Pronouns

An adjectival clause is joined to another clause by means of relative pronouns like who, whom, that, whose, which, to whom etc.
Normally a relative pronoun performs 2 functions:
It functions as either the subject or object of the verb in a relative clause
ex: He that is down needs fear no fall
here the relative pronoun that functions as the alternative subject” he”.
secondly it performs the duty of a conjunction ie, joining two clauses

Types of Relative Clauses
Here we are going to.discuss two types of relative clauses
Defining clauses and Non defining clauses
A relative clause which identifies the noun it qualifies is a defining relative clause.It functions as an integral part of the sentence and hence it is indispensable. If it is removed, the entire sentence may collapse, bringing serious changes in meaning.
ex: the woman who supplies milk is moving out.
here the relative clause who supplies milk is a defining type, for it helps the reader to identify the noun it qualifies.It is indispensable in the sense that removal of the relative clause may lead to total collapse in the meaning of the sentence.

Non- defining type.
A non- defining type is the one that imparts additional information . It is not an integral part of the sentence and the removal of it may not affect the meaning of the sentence. It is separated from the main clause using comma or dash
ex: The elephant, which is the largest of all land animals, is found in Asia and Africa.
here the relative clause “ which is the largest of all land animals” only imparts additional information and the removal of it does not cause change in meaning. Here it is non- defining.

Use of Wh- relative pronoun and “that” as relative pronoun
  1. That is not used to introduce non- defining relative clauses
  2. There is no change in the form of that with the number of case of the antecedent.
  3. when we use that as a relative pronoun the preposition can come only at the end.
ex: This is the hill that i dreamt about last night
here the preposition “ about” comes at the end.

Note: when we use a relative pronoun as the complement of a preposition, the preposition can come before or after the wh- relative pronoun as in:
This is the hill about which i dreamt last night
This is the hill which i dreamt about last night.
both are correct.

4. we use “that” after words like “all” “ everything” “anything” “few” etc.
ex: All that is well ends well

Use of Wh- relative pronouns
1 If the antecedent is a personal pronoun we prefer “who” to” that”
2. when the antecedent consists of a long list of words we prefer “wh pronouns”
3.when we use a relative pronoun as the complement of a preposition, the preposition can come before or after the “wh- relative pronoun” as in:
This is the hill about which i dreamt last night
This is the hill which i dreamt about last night.


Joseph, Mathew. Fine Tune Your English. Orient Blacj Swan pvt.Ltd.2010. Print. 

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