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Unit 65: Relative Clauses

Relative Clauses

Relative clauses give information to help define something. For example:
- I work for a company. >> I work for a company that sells computer software.
The clause "that sells computer software" gives extra information about the company.
- She likes people. >> She likes people who are kind and generous.
The first sentence is too general, wheras the second sentence gives more information about who she likes.

Who

Who clauses give information about people. For example:
- There are many people who want to learn English.
- A doctor is a person who helps sick people.

Sometimes you can use that as well as who. For example:
- I like the man that lives next to us.
- I like the man who lives next to us.
This is possible in Essential Relative Clauses, but not in Non-essential Relative Clauses. For more information see later units on Relative Clauses.

Which

Which clauses give information about things. For example:
- Where's the pencil which was on my desk?
- He's moved to an apartment which has a nice view.

That can be used instead of which especially in informal speech. For example:
- I'd like a job that has a higher salary. - OK
- I'd like a job which has a higher salary. - OK

- This is the book that I borrowed from Lisa. - OK
- This is the book which I borrowed from Lisa. - OK

As above, which and that can both be used in Essential Relative Clauses, but only which can be in Non-essential Relative Clauses. For more informaiton see later Units on Relative Clauses.

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