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Clowne Junior School

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L.I: Identify relative clauses




‘Dudley had laughed himself silly at Harry, who spent a sleepless night imagining school the next day, where he was already laughed at for his baggy clothes and sellotaped glasses.’ 


Study the quote above. Underlined are the relative clauses. See how they begin with a word that relates to the head noun, in this case Harry (who), then school (when). Who is an example of a relative pronoun, others are whom, whose, which, that. Where is an example of a relative adverb which also begins relative clauses, others are when, why, while, whereupon, whence. Look at the use of commas before relative clauses.


‘They’re a kind of Muggle sweet I’m rather fond of.’


Can you identify the relative clause and the noun it refers to? It's not so easy, as the word ‘that’ before ‘I’m’ has been left out. The relative pronoun that is often omitted (taken out). 


Relative clauses are a special kind of subordinate clause that modify nouns. A relative clause can also be attached to a clause and, in that case, it refers back to the whole clause rather than a noun. Relative clauses are used to add description to a text.

Have a go at identifying the relative clauses, and the noun they relate to, in the set of sentences below. (The first one has been done for you as an example)


Relative Clauses 

noun               relative clause


Mr Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. 

The clause is adding extra information about the firm, Grunnings. 


He was tall, thin and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt.


But he did seem to realise that he was being watched, because he looked up suddenly at the cat, which was still staring at him from the other end of the street.


Dumbledore slipped the Put-Outer back inside his cloak and set off down the street towards number four, where he sat down on the wall next to the cat.


Viewers as far apart as Kent, Yorkshire and Dundee have been phoning in to tell me that instead of the rain I promised yesterday, they’ve had a downpour of shooting stars.


A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen.


Harry, who could see a huge Dudley tantrum coming on, began wolfing down his bacon as fast as possible in case Dudley turned the table over.


Half an hour later, Harry, who couldn’t believe his luck, was sitting in the back of the Dursleys’ car with Piers and Dudley, on the way to the zoo for the first time in his life.


He was careful to walk a little way apart from the Dursleys so that Dudley and Piers, who were starting to get bored with the animals by lunch-time, wouldn’t fall back on their favourite hobby of hitting him.


It was worse than having a cupboard as a bedroom, where the only visitor was Aunt Petunia hammering on the door to wake you up – at least he got to visit the rest of the house.