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Richard Nordquist

Subordination With Adjective Clauses: Practice in Combining Sentences (Part Four)

By February 25, 2013

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Welcome to part four of our series on sentence combining. The focus this month is on combining sentences with adjective clauses (also known as relative clauses).

As usual, the "sample answers" at the end are just that--examples of satisfactory combinations and revisions. In some cases, other correct answers are possible.

  1. Turning a Main Clause Into an Adjective Clause
    The following sentence contains two main clauses joined by and:
    The manager was wearing a scruffy sort of undertaker's suit, and he wandered around jangling his keys.
    To give greater emphasis to what the manager was wearing and less emphasis to what he was doing, we can turn the second main clause into an adjective clause:
    The manager, who wandered around jangling his keys, was wearing a scruffy sort of undertaker's suit.
    Now, to emphasize what the manager was doing, turn the adjective clause into the main clause, and vice versa.

  2. Using the Relative Pronoun Which in a Nonrestrictive Adjective Clause
    Combine the two sentences below by turning the second sentence into a nonrestrictive adjective clause. Use The sea as the subject of the main clause and which as the subject of the adjective clause.
    a. The sea is often difficult to reach.
    b. The sea looks so near and so tempting.

  3. Using the Relative Pronoun Who in a Restrictive Adjective Clause
    Combine these two sentences by turning the first sentence into a restrictive adjective clause. Omit the word certain.
    a. Certain people find their dull jobs unendurable.
    b. These people often don't know what to do with their leisure time.

  4. Arranging Adjective Clauses
    Combine these three sentences by turning the last sentence into a restrictive adjective clause. Omit the word these.
    a. The world is full of people.
    b. These people are in positions of responsibility.
    c. These people are ignorant of their own business.

  5. Using the Relative Pronoun Whose in a Nonrestrictive Adjective Clause
    Combine these two sentences by turning the first sentence into an adjective clause beginning with whose.
    a. The wings of an ostrich are useless for flight.
    b. The ostrich can run faster than the swiftest horse.

  6. Using Prepositions Plus Relative Pronouns in Adjective Clauses
    Combine these four sentences by (1) turning the first sentence into an adjective clause beginning with by which, and (2) turning the third sentence into an adjective clause beginning with in which.
    a. A person can become a writer.
    b. There is no formula.
    c. A person can be one.
    d. There is no end to the number of ways.


Sample Answers:

  1. The manager, who was wearing a scruffy sort of undertaker's suit, wandered around jangling his keys.

  2. The sea, which looks so near and so tempting, is often difficult to reach.

  3. People who find their dull jobs unendurable often don't know what to do with their leisure time.

  4. The world is full of people in positions of responsibility who are ignorant of their own business.

  5. The ostrich, whose wings are useless for flight, can run faster than the swiftest horse.

  6. There is no formula by which a person can become a writer, and there is no end to the number of ways in which a person can be one.

Stop back on April 5 for practice in combining and revising sentences with appositives.

Practice in Building, Combining, and Revising Sentences:

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