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Defining and non-defining relative clauses - Intermediate

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Practice on the defining and non-defining relative clauses

A relative clause is an added part in a sentence that is used in relation to the main sentence. However, sometimes a relative clause is so important that the main sentence will be difficult to understand or have no meaning without it. This is called a defining relative clause. On the other hand, we often use a relative clause just to add extra information, which is usually indicated by the use of commas. The meaning of the main sentence will still be clear without it and it is therefore called a non-defining relative clause.  By using commas in written English and a slight pause in spoken English, two identical clauses can have different meanings when used in a sentence.

Choose the correct explanation for each sentence:

  1. All my friends who are Asian came to my party.
  2. All my friends, who are Asian, came to my party.
  3. The Italian restaurant in Long Street got a new owner.
  4. The Italian restaurant, which is in Long Street, got a new owner.
  5. My cousin who lives in New York is getting married next year.
  6. My cousin, who lives in New York, is getting married next year.
  7. We study at the only school in Cape Town, which has afternoon lessons.
  8. We study at the only school in Cape Town which has afternoon lessons.
  9. The book which I finished yesterday was fantastic.
  10. The book, which I finished yesterday, was fantastic.

Type the sentence number into the space below:

Today's lesson is by Danica, EC Cape Town

Link: What's a relative clause

  • There is only one Italian restaurant in town and it now has a new owner:
  • There are many schools in Cape Town but only one that has afternoon lessons:
  • I am reading many books at the moment. Some of them are boring, but not the one I finished yesterday:
  • I have many cousins who live in various countries all over the world:
  • I have only Asian friends:
  • There are many Italian restaurants all over town, but only the one in Long Street now has a new owner:
  • I was reading only one book and I finished it yesterday:
  • There is only one school in Cape Town and it has afternoon lessons, too:
  • I have only one cousin. She now lives in New York:
  • I have many friends, but only my Asian friends came to my party