Relative clauses

Урок 6. Английский язык 9 класс ФГОС

В библиотеке Гарри случайно наткнулся на сатирическую книгу Амброза Бирса «Лексикон Сатаны». Книга представляет собой сборник афоризмов о разных сторонах человеческой деятельности. Именно на этих афоризмах Гарри и рассматривает определительные придаточные предложения. В практической части урока Аллан предлагает подкорректировать историю о создании другого, не менее известного произведения – «Алиса в Стране Чудес».

Конспект урока "Relative clauses"

Hello, guys! Welcome to Grammar Zone! My name’s Harry Jones.

My best friends Allan and Kate will help me make our lessons useful and enjoyable.

Yesterday I was searching for something interesting to read at the library when I found this dictionary. It’s not a typical dictionary.

The Devil’s Dictionary was written between 1881 and 1887 by Ambrose Bierce. He was a 19th-century American author and journalist.

Bierce’s dictionary does not contain normal definitions – his definitions are funny and cynical.

For example, look at this definition. What do you think the missing word is?

______ a person who puts metal in your mouth and takes coins out of your pocket.

Well, the missing word is a dentist.

In a normal dictionary the definition of a dentist is “a kind of a doctor who looks after people’s teeth.” But The Devil’s Dictionary is a … different kind of dictionary.


Think of normal definitions for these words or phrases:

a bank, a boring person, the brain, a star, a friend, a secret.


Now match the words to the definitions from the Devil’s Dictionary.

1. A star is a person who works all her life to become famous and then wears sunglasses so people don’t recognize her.

2. A secret is something which you only tell one person.

3. A boring person is somebody who talks about himself when you want to talk about yourself.

4. A friend is somebody who dislikes the same people as you.

5. A bank is a place where you can borrow money only if you can show that you don’t need it.

6. The brain is something which starts working when you get up in the morning and stops working when you get to work or school.


What do we call the highlighted words in these sentences:

a) reflexive pronouns?

b) relative pronouns or

c) question words?

The highlighted words are called relative pronouns.

We use a relative pronoun in the beginning of a relative clause to give more information about a noun in the main sentence.

Here is a list of the relative pronouns and their uses.

·                   We use WHO or THAT for people.

The old lady whom I met was one hundred and three years old.

·                   We use WHOSE to show possession both for people and things.

This is Mr Simpson whose son moved to New York.

·                   We use WHICH or THAT for animals and things.

The car which/that they bought was quite expensive.

Relative adverbs are where, when and why.

·                   We use WHERE for place.

The town where I grew up is very small.

·                   We use WHEN for time.

That was the year when I finished the university.

·                   We use WHY for reasons.

The real reason why she came was to talk to my dad.


Have you seen the book that Ron gave me?

NOT: Have you seen the book what Ron gave me?

There are two types of relative clauses: defining relative clauses and non-defining relative clauses.

Defining relative clauses give essential information about the noun they refer to. Without them the main clause doesn’t make sense.

Look at these two sentences:

The people are very noisy. (main sentence)

They live in the flat above us. (essential information)

The main clause doesn’t make sense unless we define who we are talking about.

This information comes in the relative clause.

The people who live in the flat above us are very noisy.

Jane made a cake. (main sentence)

Nobody liked it. (essential information)

Nobody liked the cake that Jane had made.

·                   When who/whom, which or that is the object of the relative clause, we usually leave it out.

The book is very good. (main clause)

You gave me this book. (This book is the object.)

The book (that) you gave me is very good.

·                   We never leave out the relative pronoun if it refers to the subject of the main clause.

The book is very good. (main clause)

The book won the prize. (The book is the subject.)

The book that won the prize is very good.

Non-defining relative clauses give us extra information about the noun to which they refer to. The information is not essential because the main clause is complete without it.

Look at these two sentences:

London has over 6 million people.

London, which is the capital of Britain, has over 6 million people.

The clause which is the capital of Britain gives us more information about London, but we do not need this information to define London. We can understand the first sentence without this extra information.

Which is the capital of Britain is a non-defining relative clause.

·                   Who and which are not omitted in non-defining relative clauses!

·                   That cannot replace who or which.

He invited me to the party, which was very kind of him.

Peter, who works really hard, got a promotion. NOT: Peter, that works really hard, got a promotion.


A defining relative clause is not put in commas.

A non-defining relative clause is put in commas.

Note how the commas change the meaning of the sentence:

The boys in my class, who enjoyed the film, saw it again. (all the boys in my class)

The boys in my class who enjoyed the film saw it again. (only some boys in my class)

Allan: To practice the rule, I’d like you to complete the text about another prominent writer – Lewis Carroll by putting who, which or whose in the gaps.

Let’s check.

Alice in Wonderland, which is one of the most popular children’s books in the world, was written by Lewis Carroll, whose real name was Charles Dodgson.

Carroll, who had a natural talent as a story-teller, loved to entertain children, including Alice Liddell, whose father was a colleague of Carroll’s at Oxford University. One day Carroll took Alice and her sisters for a trip on the river Thames, which flows through Oxford. After the trip, Carroll wrote in his diary that he had told the children a wonderful story, which he had promised to write down for them. He wrote the story, illustrated it with his own drawings, and gave it to the children. Later it was published.

Harry: That’s all for now. Join our lessons at videouroki.net, where you can find a lot of useful information.


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