Grammar | Band 7 Clauses 2 Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

​A non-defining relative clause is used to provide extra information about a noun. Using non-defining clauses allows you to combine information from more than one sentence making your writing more cohesive. It also shows the examiner you have at least a band 7 understanding of English grammar.
For ExampleMy garden, which is often full of cats, attracts a lot of small birds

Here the non-defining relative clause provides more information about the garden.
With non-defining relative clauses:
  • We can’t use the relative pronoun ‘that.
My garden, that which is often full of catsattracts a lot of small birds. X
My garden, which is often full of catsattracts a lot of small birds

  • The relative pronoun (who/which/whom/where) cannot be left out of the sentence.

 

  • We separate the relative clause from the main clause with a comma or commas if it is in the middle of the sentence.

 

  • The relative pronoun can refer to a single noun or to a whole clause.
My gardenwhich is often full of catsattracts a lot of small birds. 

– which refers to garden.
Many people believe we shouldn’t test medicines on animalswhich is difficult if we want to keep people safe.

– which refers to the whole main clause (Many people believe we shouldn’t test medicines on animals).

Now let’s practice!


NON-DEFINING RELATIVE CLAUSES | Exercise

Combine the following sentences by using non-defining relative clauses. If the non-defining relative clause must be embedded in the sentence, then, where possible, keep the information in the order it is found in the two sentence prompt. 
Example:
I live in a house with no garage. It means I have to park on the street.
I live in a house without a garage, [which means] I have to park on the street.

1. Some students live very close to university. This allows them to get up later than others.
Some students live close to university, them to get up later than others.
2. The science and technology museum is in Manchester. It has many great displays for young people.
The Science and Technology museum, , has many great displays for young people.
3. My uncle Philip is very funny. He is coming to the party.
My uncle Philip, , is coming to the party.
4. The text was about ancient Egyptian history. It was fascinating.
The text, about ancient Egyptian history, fascinating.
5. He met her at the party. The party was at my house.
He met her at the party, .
6. I started at Microsoft in 2008. I worked there until recently.
I started at Microsoft in 2008, I worked until recently.
7. I asked the police for directions. He was not very friendly.
I asked the policeman, , for directions.
8. Althea and Donna sang Uptown Top Ranking. It was a hit in England.
Althea and Donna , in England.
9. People often drive very too fast. This is dangerous.
People , dangerous.

How did you do? We hope that you understand non defining relative clauses better now. Remember that if you want to use this grammar successfully in your IELTS test, you must practice with it as much as possible.

​Thanks for checking out our lesson. Got any questions? Leave them in the comments section below.

Now try our Relative Clauses Lesson!

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