Relative clauses

Sophie decides to post videos on her world-famous travel blog.  


As you watch the video, look at the examples of relative clauses. They are in red in the subtitles. Then read the conversation below to learn more. Finally, do the grammar exercises to check you understand, and can use, relative clauses correctly.


Ollie: Hey, Daiz, you remember that Mum was talking about putting videos up on her blog?
Daisy: Yeah.
Ollie: Well, she’s got the first one up. It looks pretty cool.
Daisy: Oh, right. Where is she at the moment? Peru, isn’t it?
Ollie: I think she’s in Bolivia now, but the video’s from yesterday, when she was on the
Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca.
Daisy: OK, let’s have a look.
Sophie: Hi, everyone. Today I’m visiting the floating Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca.
Sophie: The people who live here have had the same kind of lifestyle for hundreds of years. The amazing thing about these islands is that they are man-made and made out of plants. The islanders pick the tall reeds that grow at the sides of the lake and use them to make the islands. Every three months they have to put down new reeds. If they didn’t, the islands would sink into the lake! Oh, yeah, and as I said, the islands float, so they have to be anchored to the bottom of the lake with rope, like a boat.
Daisy: Hey, it’s really good!
Sophie: The islands are kind of bouncy to walk on, but they’re pretty strong. The Uros people make fires, which they use for cooking. OK, there’s a house made of reeds, but that grey thing, which you can see on the roof there, isn’t very traditional. That’s a solar panel – technology gets to every corner of the world nowadays.
Ollie: Mmm, it’s a bit like a geography lesson, but it’s interesting.
Daisy: Yeah, I think it’s great.
Ollie: OK, let’s write a nice comment and ‘like’ it.

We use relative clauses to describe or give extra information about something we have already mentioned. We often use relative pronouns (e.g. who, where, that, which, whose) to introduce relative clauses.

What are relative clauses and why do we use them?

A clause is a group of words containing a verb. Relative clauses are a way of giving more information about a person, thing, place, event, etc. We often use them to avoid repeating information.

The Uros people make fires. Their fires are used for cooking. = The Uros people make fires, which they use for cooking.

OK, so there the relative pronoun is 'which' and it refers back to 'the fires' and 'which they use for cooking' is the relative clause.

That’s right, which is used for things (never for people). There are a lot of other relative pronouns: who (for people), that (for a thing or a person), where (for a place), whose (for possession) and when (for a time).

What are defining relative clauses?

They are clauses that you need in the sentence for it to make sense.

The people who live here have had the same kind of lifestyle for hundreds of years.

If I said 'The people have had the same kind of lifestyle for hundreds of years', you wouldn’t know which people I was talking about.

There are no commas before and after the clause.

No, not with defining relative clauses.

The islanders pick the tall reeds that grow at the sides of the lake and use them to make the islands.

OK, so what about non-defining relative clauses?

We use those to give extra information, which isn’t absolutely necessary. We use commas to separate them from the rest of the sentence, unless they come at the end of the sentence, when we use a comma and a full stop.

That grey thing, which you can see on the roof there, isn’t very traditional.
The video’s from yesterday, when she was on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca.
This is Sophie, whose blog you’ve been reading.

OK, got it, I think. Is there anything else that I need to know?

Ah, you just used a relative clause with that. We can use that instead of who or which in defining clauses, not non-defining clauses.

So this grammar snack, which has been very interesting, has taught me everything that I need to know about relative clauses.

OK, it’s taught you nearly everything you need to know.



Do people still follow traditions or use old ways of doing things where you live? What do they do?

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Submitted by Animeci_Afton on Sun, 01/08/2023 - 11:47

Yes, some people still weave. Also, this activity helped me in the exam, thanks!

Submitted by cyanobenzene on Wed, 11/23/2022 - 14:42

A tip that I could give to learn English would be to listen to music. Song lyrics give you access to the sound of words, accents and help you learn how to pronounce English correctly.

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Submitted by Capixt on Mon, 09/19/2022 - 16:30

I think that now we do the some things in a diferente way, we keep some tradicion but this tradicions are just for days in especific like holiday, but in a comon day we use a lot of tecnology and we have more busy lifes.

Submitted by strawberry123_ on Mon, 07/18/2022 - 07:35

Well, I think, that some people still follow traditions, e.g. Christmas traditions. And about using old ways of doing things, I think maybe in some countries or small towns people use old ways of doing things. but not in big cities.

Submitted by A01751114 on Thu, 04/21/2022 - 15:53

Relative clauses give us information about the person or thing mentioned. Defining relative clauses give us essential information

Submitted by A01750110 on Thu, 04/21/2022 - 15:52

i think the relative clauses are very important because we use them to know more things about the sentence

Submitted by A01750092 on Thu, 04/21/2022 - 15:51

Relative clauses is so important to know it because it is an essential part of the language. help to be able to refer to a person or an object.

Submitted by A01751215 on Thu, 04/21/2022 - 15:50

A01751215 This exercise helps me a lot to understand better the relative clauses. Is very important to know how to use correctly the relative clauses because yo can comunicante correctly and improve your english.

Submitted by Richie_Gil on Thu, 04/21/2022 - 15:49

A01749777 I think realtive clauses are important because they give you the possibility to make a sentence more interesting or relevant adding an extra information to the sentence.

Submitted by Paolatron on Thu, 04/21/2022 - 15:46

I think they’re very important because they allow adding information to a sentence

Submitted by M0ngl3z on Thu, 04/21/2022 - 15:45

A01749345 Relative clauses are a way of giving more information about a PERSON, THING, ETC. - We can use it to avoid extra information that we don't want I think relative clauses are a very important topic to be learnt because we can improve our vocabulary and it also helps us to speak more clearly.

Submitted by A01749757 on Thu, 04/21/2022 - 15:41

I think that relative clauses are important because they let you to add necessary or extra information to a sentence and in this way, you make that sentence more interesting because that information can be relevant. -Rosis A01749757

Submitted by A01750107 on Thu, 04/21/2022 - 15:37

The relative clauses are very important to use because when we use it correctly we can use who, whose, were, that, and others un correct forms and we us it daily to create questions or indications or for other situations and indicate something or indicate what someone does or an action.

Submitted by A01750582 on Thu, 04/21/2022 - 15:37

In my opinion relative clauses are very important, they are used to connect phrases and give sentences a different meaning. The basic ones are: who, whose, which, when, where, that and whom. We use this pronouns in our daily life to explain something with more details or to describe and object, person or situation in a better way.

Submitted by MemoGB on Thu, 04/21/2022 - 15:33

To me, relative clauses are important; because they allow you to add extra information to a sentence and to make it more interesting or relevant to the reader. Furthermore, these clauses may be essential to the sentence and define a specific person or thing, or they may be unnecessary to add more information to a fully defined noun.

Submitted by AA01750358 on Thu, 04/21/2022 - 15:33

Its is great since relative make it a little more spicy the sentence. You can make more interesting with it and have better conversations with people! great exercise.

Submitted by 12082008 on Wed, 11/24/2021 - 20:11

It's cool!

Submitted by ruthven on Thu, 10/21/2021 - 04:51

Where I live, the people still follow the celebrations and traditions like "Day of the Dead", but the people now use new technology to make their products, whose origin is from other countries.
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Submitted by Cfvdv on Thu, 04/08/2021 - 16:52

Yes, the culinary here is very similar as the past traditional ways to make some dishes. One example is the bean stew. To prepare the bean stew is used the cheap pieces of pork like nose and feet. This was from slevery times, when the slaves coocked with the rest of meat their owners threw away. And this dish is very tasty and still is coocked in that manner.

Submitted by Didik on Mon, 04/05/2021 - 21:12

In my country we have the famous carnival, we celebrate Christmas and New Year, and we have a big festival called Saint John, celebrated in June. All these festivals are celebrated for hundreds of years in my country.

Submitted by Arivelde on Thu, 04/01/2021 - 16:16

Where I live there are many traditional beliefs and celebrations. The oldest celebration in my county is the Saint Jonh celebration, but some belifies are more interenting. Sutch as, "Do not leave your slipers up side down, it can bring bad luck", "don't open an umbrela indoors, it's bad luck", and if you want a guest to leave your house, you can leave a broom bihind the door.

Submitted by hermione123 on Sat, 04/03/2021 - 13:01

Arivelde, Opening umbrella indoors is really popular in my country. I thought it's just one of some ways to scare kids so they won't do it. And the only reason we can't open umbrella indoors is because there are so many possibilities we will cause some damages or break fragile things. And umbrella always takes a lot of room. I never really thought that it's a belief in other countries too. Another belief that i know is 'don't sleep after around 3 pm and 4 am'. Some people say if you do so, you will be crazy. And i think it's just so weird. Why can't people sleep at that time? But, turned out the only reason is that you will get so confused after you wake up. I've experienced it. I was sooo tired, then i took a nap after around 3.30 pm, and when i woke up I was in a very bad mood and confused. I even thought that it was already morning and i had to go to school! Anyways, I've also tried to sleep after 4 am. But i didn't feel the exact feeling of bad mood just like what i felt when i slept after 3 pm. That are more things like that, I just can't remember it. And personally, I never believe in things like that. But I do some of the beliefs because it's true (just like those beliefs I've written there). All the best, Hermione123 :D

In reply to by Arivelde

Submitted by Arivelde on Thu, 04/08/2021 - 15:51

Dear Hermione123, I completaly agree with you, beliefs are normaly ment to freak out kids so they would respect and obey their parents more. I think that our generation will be much less supersticious than our parents or grandparents. And this is good, supersticions can harm people in the sence that they can avoid things that would make them grow or succeed, for exampe, if they go to a job interview, then see a black cat, return home and miss a good chance of a great job. Many greatings, Arivelde.

In reply to by hermione123

Submitted by hermione123 on Sun, 04/11/2021 - 05:25

Arivelde, thanks for replying me :). yeah, our generations are much less superstitious than the elderly people. and I thought some really weird beliefs are just silly, 'cause it's not logical. oh, i also found other beliefs. in Indonesia, we have: "do not sweep the floor at night' and 'do not whistle at night'. i have no idea why we can't do those things. but, i guess why we can't whistle at night is there are few possibilities that we can disturb asleep people. still it doesn't really make sense to me. and your example about the effect believing beliefs too much is just hit the nail on the head. it makes us pessimistic. warm wishes, hermione123

In reply to by Arivelde

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Submitted by Kostantinus on Fri, 01/29/2021 - 09:38

In Ukraine, where I live, some local people still believe in some beliefs, which I am going to introduce you. Are you ready to listen to me? Well. Sit comfortably in the chair, get your tea and cookies, and enjoy my story. 1. Ukrainian believe, that black cat crossing your way brings you bad luck. That's because many years ago my fellow countrymen thought that black cat is not a real cat, but a witch turned into the poor animal. 2. Never walk towards Ukrainian if you have an empty bucket in your hand. It's considered as bad manners, because this action can cause bad day and some troubles for that person. It's better you wain aside for a while. 3. Don't whistle indoors if you don't want to lose all your money and become poor. I can tell you much more beliefs of my motherland, but I have something to do. See you around!))

Submitted by hermione123 on Fri, 01/29/2021 - 23:42

Kostantinus, Ooh.. Thanks for the information. There are some beliefs in my country too. One of them is, don't open an umbrella indoors. I personally think that maybe we aren't allowed to open an umbrella indoors because we might cause something fragile fall or broke. And there are many more. But, I can't figure out more :( All the best, Hermione123

In reply to by Kostantinus

Submitted by hermione123 on Sat, 01/23/2021 - 23:19

I think in Indonesia, we usually still use traditional way. Such as, when someone get married there are some traditional way to celebrate the party. And some elderly people still wear traditional clothes. Actually, there are so many traditional things here, but I can't figure it out.
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Submitted by Andrii on Thu, 12/17/2020 - 16:59

In Ukraine most things changed since last centuries. For example now we use ballpoint pens instead of quill pens. We use electric light bulbs instead of kerosene lamps. There are lots of other changes, these are just first that came to my mind.
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Submitted by Giovannichoi on Thu, 07/09/2020 - 02:31

I think everything was changed in Korea, 'cause I can't find anything traditional things here. The only thing is that we use Hangul, for we don't live in Han-ok, and we don't wear Han-bok. Everything you can see in Seoul, the capital, is only the apartments. Men and women in suits and ties, or kids wearing trainers. Did you ever seen K-POP stars in Han-bok? Well, I think our tradition should be well preserved, from now on.

Submitted by cesperolo on Thu, 05/07/2020 - 13:11

In my country, a large part of people still follow the tradition, for example, at Christmas or Easter, but this is only the part that remained of our ancestors. Fortunately, there are various museums and open-air museums thanks to which the memory of our traditions is maintained

Submitted by anna_v3r on Thu, 03/26/2020 - 13:01

Onestly, in my country people follows some of the traditons like the way we cook or others. But it depends on the area. My family and I still follow some of the traditions here, like going to church at midnight of Christmas' day.

Submitted by vittoriadigianno on Thu, 03/26/2020 - 13:00

in italy many people follow traditions for example Ferragosto

Submitted by gio_cra2004 on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 15:16

In my opinion most of the traditions are transmitted from generation to generation based on their lifestyle and their city of origin. For example, my grandmother makes typical Apulian sweets for the holidays. While other traditions are slowly disappearing.

Submitted by chiarusso on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:38

i don't know but i think that we respect and follow some tradition ,meantime Others tradition are getting lost

Submitted by mart__ on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:37

In my country many people still follow tradition especially on food such as typical dishes but also on important holidays

Submitted by alaricofranca02 on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:37

with us there are still traditions such as Ferragosto and the day of liberation

Submitted by mmatildepontoni04 on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 12:05

In my opinion, people who live in my country have had the same kind of lifestyle for hundreds of years. For example my family still follow the traditions of our ancestors.

Submitted by Roga on Wed, 11/06/2019 - 17:20

In my village Hidalgo, Mexico, people celebrate Xantolo know as All Saints' Day on November 2. Xantolo consist in life and death ritual, where indigenous communities remember their dead, disguise and dance for their dead.

Submitted by Lucrecampa on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:35

No, traditions haven’ t changed in my family, for example at midnight on Christmas we go to church

In reply to by Roga

Submitted by Daniela on Mon, 11/04/2019 - 02:41

I am from Mexico many people follow the traditions of our ancestors, especially in the villages they continue doing things of past years, such as celebrating the day of the dead, Christmas, New Year and many other things.

Submitted by Zyanmi on Mon, 11/04/2019 - 02:11

In my neighborhood there are people who have modernized the traditions, for example I have a friend who still puts ornaments for the festivities, but puts LED screens to decorate.

Submitted by BH on Sun, 11/03/2019 - 21:52

The only thing they still do in the place where I live is to make tortillas by hand, some merchants use carbon to heat their food.

Submitted by Morrogomes123 on Sun, 11/03/2019 - 20:26

People who live in Mexico generally follow some of the traditions of some years ago, although not all, and do not do them as before, since they change some or many things of what used to be done. In general, people living in big cities no longer continue betrayals, just as younger people do not usually do the same with older adults. Normally some traditions are the offering on the day of the dead or in ancient times several ceremonies were held towards some gods

Submitted by LuCF10 on Sun, 11/03/2019 - 19:29

Although the people where I live already use the technology that does not prevent them from following some traditions or certain ways of doing things as before. For example, sometimes they cook with coal, move on horses, grow their own vegetables. The festivities of the town is something that does not go unnoticed and is instilled in each of the new families

Submitted by JULIO_GUZMAN on Sat, 11/02/2019 - 20:20

I'm from Mexico, in the neighborhood where I live the lifestyle is modern, but in some towns of Mexico the traditions of our ancestors are still preserved.

Submitted by Hossainbd3 on Fri, 03/01/2019 - 10:43

Please help me convert the following sentence into compound. "Having sweet smell and beauty,We love it very much"
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Submitted by Tina - Coordinator on Tue, 03/05/2019 - 12:45

Dear Hossainbd3
Here you go ... It has sweet smell and beauty, so we love it very much.
Best wishes, Tina (LearnEnglish Teens team)


In reply to by Hossainbd3

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Submitted by Youjiro on Sat, 02/02/2019 - 13:14

It is depend.People do not change from traditional things even young people.We are getting more old way our country sink bottom of the ocean.Our change only thing is fashion cloth.People love traditional way because they don't think about what is a best for us.Most of people don't do new way.

Submitted by Lodestar on Thu, 10/25/2018 - 03:28

Hello, I can't see the video. What is wrong?

Submitted by editor_rachael on Thu, 10/25/2018 - 12:58

Hi Lodestar,


Thanks for letting us know. I've just tried playing the video and it's working fine for me. Are you using Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari or another browser? Try using a different browser and see it that works. Are you having problems playing other videos on our site? If so, which ones?


LearnEnglish Teens team

In reply to by Lodestar

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