Chapter 9: Diagramming Relative Pronouns (Adjective Clauses)

Relative pronouns are words that introduce adjective clauses.

who, whom, whose, that, which

Relative adverbs can also introduce adjective clauses.

where, why, when...

An adjective clause is a subordinate clause that is used as an adjective. That means that the whole clause modifies a noun or pronoun.

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Your Mini Lesson on Adjective Clauses

This is the green house.

Green is a word modifying the noun house. It is an adjective. Now, look at this sentence.

This is the house that Jack built.

That Jack built is a whole clause modifying the noun house. That Jack built is an adjective clause.

Introductory Words

Relative pronouns or relative adverbs link adjective clauses with the word in the independent clause that the adjective clause modifies.

The relative pronouns may act as a subject, direct object, object of the preposition, or a modifier within the adjective clause.

  • Independent Clause = This is the house
  • Dependent Adjective Clause = that Jack built
  • Relative Pronoun = that
  • Adjective Clause Is Modifying = house


Let's look at that sentence from above again. What is the relative pronoun's job in the adjective clause that Jack built?

You can see from the diagram that it is acting as the direct object. Think of it as Jack built that.

If the adjective clause is being introduced by a relative adverb, the relative adverb is simply acting as an adverb. It has no other function in the clause.

This is the park where we played
  • Independent Clause = This is the park
  • Dependent Adjective Clause = where we played
  • Relative Adverb = where
  • Adjective Clause Is Modifying = park

See these pages for more help:

Ready? You can do this! The answers are at the bottom of the page.

9.0 Diagramming Adjective Clauses

Directions: To diagram the following sentences, start by diagramming the independent clauses.

Then, figure out which word in the independent clause the adjective clause is modifying.

Diagram the adjective clause below the independent clause.

Connect the two clauses with a dotted line stretching between the word introducing the adjective clause (relative pronoun or relative adverb) and the word in the independent clause that the adjective clause is modifying.

See the examples above for help.

1. I love the person who cleaned the house!

2. Colin walked into the house that had been sold.

3. Are teachers who are extra nice paid double?

4. The boy with whom I spoke drew that picture.

5. Teachers whose students are motivated happily work overtime.

6. The presents, which were wrapped in blue and green paper, looked perfect!

7. The woman who looks so happy danced on the dance floor until the club closed.

8. I gave her the apple, which was sitting on the table.

9. Cathy, we should shop at the stores that have the best prices.

10. This book is dedicated to my husband, whom I love.

Check Your Answers

9.0 Diagramming Adjective Clauses

adjective clause sentence diagram


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