Unit 5.1

Defining Relative Clauses

Complex Clauses


Relative clauses (defining and non-defining) are used to give extra information about a person, a thing etc. {see Relative pronouns, A1 Level}

Defining relative clauses give essential information to define the object (person, thing etc.) we are talking about.


Defining clauses appear after the noun they describe.

Their structure is:
Subject + Relative Pronoun + Relative Clause + Verb + …

The Relative Pronouns that introduce defining clauses, are:

  • That (relating to both people and things);
  • Which (relating to things);
  • Who (relating to people).

NOTE: We cannot use comma to separate defining relative clauses.


  • The man who lives next door is going to organize a cocktail party.
  • My aunt which works in a school became a widow two days ago.
  • The man that celebrated his silver wedding anniversary is 53 years old.


We use defining relative clauses to give an essential information about somebody or something that we refer to.


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