Defining relative clauses

دوره: گرامر انگلیسی در شش دقیقه / درس 15

گرامر انگلیسی در شش دقیقه

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Defining relative clauses

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This is a Unit which focuses a lot on relative clauses. By now you are people who have probably read a lot about relative clauses! Time to take a break from the reading - listen to Finn, Alice and Catherine in 6 Minute Grammar. They will help you put all this relative clause information in order.

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Hello. Welcome to 6 Minute Grammar with me, Finn.

Alice And me, Alice. Hello.

Finn Today we’re talking about defining relative clauses .

Alice That’s right: defining relative clauses. We’ll explain what they are…

Finn We’ll look at how they work…

Alice We’ll hear lots of examples…

Finn And we’ll have a quiz to practice what we’ve learned. So: on with the show. Let’s start by looking at what relative clauses are, and how we make them.

Alice Yes. Defining relative clauses give information about a noun in a sentence or question. They define - or, give more information about - the thing that we are talking about. Here’s Catherine with our first example:

Catherine Have you seen the shoes that I bought today?

Finn The defining relative clause is the phrase that I bought today - and it tells us which shoes Catherine is talking about.

Alice That’s right. Catherine probably has several pairs of shoes: adding the phrase that I bought today tells us exactly which shoes she means.

Finn So: let’s have a closer look at the grammar of relative clauses. We start with a noun and then we add a relative pronoun, such as who or that , plus a verb phrase. The relative pronoun w ho is for people … Catherine.

Catherine The man who owns this restaurant is my best friend.

Alice So the defining relative clause who owns this restaurant tells us exactly which man is Catherine’s best friend.

Finn The pronoun w hich is for things, and we use that for both people and things. Here’s an example with which .

Catherine Spring is the season which I enjoy the most.

Finn Ahh - me too! So, to give more information about a thing - the season - we add the relative pronoun - which , plus the verb phrase I enjoy the most .

Alice Here’s another example.

Catherine That woman is the doctor who saw me yesterday.

Finn This time, the pronoun who refers to the doctor. And the doctor is the subject of the verb saw - the doctor saw Catherine.

Alice Right. Who refers to the subject of the verb: The doctor who saw me yesterday . Now this next example is slightly different: listen carefully.

Catherine That woman is the doctor who I saw yesterday.

Alice Again, who refers to the doctor. But this time, the doctor is the object of the verb saw - Catherine saw the doctor.

Finn So the rule is: when the pronoun refers to the subject , it’s:

Catherine She’s the doctor who saw me yesterday.

Alice And when the pronoun refers to the object , it’s:

Catherine She’s the doctor who I saw yesterday.

Alice Now some people like to use whom instead of who in object relative clauses:

Catherine …the doctor whom I saw …

Alice And that’s fine. Whom is correct here.

Finn Although who is probably more common in spoken English these days.

You’re listening to BBC Learning English.

Alice And we’re talking about defining relative clauses.

Finn And now it’s quiz time. They’re all about Harry Potter, these questions. So if you like the film it may be easier for you… I’ll say some key words and you have to make them into a sentence with a defining relative clause. Here’s the first one. Robbie Coltrane - actor - play - Hagrid.

Alice Robbie Coltrane is the actor who played Hagrid… in Harry Potter.

Finn And another one: Hogwarts - school - Harry Potter - go.

Alice Hogwarts is the school that Harry Potter went to.

Finn Very good. Last one: Hermione - marry - Ron Weasley.

Alice Ooh. Hermione is the girl who married Ron Weasley.

Finn Or as an object clause it’s:

Alice Hermione is the girl who Ron Weasley married.

Finn Well done if you got those right. Now before we finish, there’s just time to mention that, in everyday English, it’s fine to leave out the pronoun completely when the relative pronoun is the object of the relative clause.

Alice For example: Hermione is the girl who Ron Weasley married becomes:

Finn Hermione is the girl Ron Weasley married .

Alice Ahhh. Don’t you think she should have married Harry?

Finn Well, I really think its Hermione’s choice, Alice.

Alice Fair enough.

Finn So, that’s the end of our brief look at defining relative clauses. They begin with a pronoun and go after the noun that you want to define.

Alice Yes. There’s more about this on our website at Join us again for more 6 Minute Grammar.

Both Bye.

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