Adjective Clauses and Phrases

Adjective Clauses and Phrases Video

Hey guys! Welcome to this video on adjective clauses and phrases.

Now, hopefully we all know what an adjective is. An adjective basically describes a noun. An adjective typically helps to make a noun more specific. For example: “I saw a bear.” Now, let’s add an adjective to modify our subject, bear. “I saw a black bear.” The adjective has helped me to specify the kind of bear that I saw.

Well, adjective clauses and phrases do this same thing (hence why they are called adjective clauses and phrases). But, let’s take a closer look at what exactly an adjective clause and adjective phrase are, and how to distinguish the two.

Adjective Phrase

An adjective phrase, like we might expect, gives us information about the noun that it’s modifying. An adjective phrase contains a head word that is an adjective, and an intensifier, or basically just a chain of adjectives.

An example of an adjective phrase would be very tall or incredibly loud. Now, an adjective phrase can be placed before the noun that it is modifying or after the noun that it is modifying.

The very tall runner zoomed through the finish line.
The music at the concert was incredibly loud.


Adjective Clause

An adjective clause is a type of clause that gives information about the noun or pronoun that it modifies. An adjective clause will generally start off with words like who, whom, whose, when, where, which, that, and why. An adjective clause is always a dependent clause, which means that by itself it would not form a complete sentence.

However, it is important to know that in order for it to be a clause it must contain a subject and a predicate. This is very important, and this very thing is where we find our distinction between an adjective phrase and an adjective clause.

Comparing Adjective Phrases and Clauses

Now, so far you may be a little confused still about what the differences are between an adjective phrase and an adjective clause. After all, both an adjective phrase and an adjective clause modify a noun, and both of them DO NOT form a complete sentence. So how are they different?

Great question, and to answer this all we need to do is look at the difference between a phrase and a clause. Like I said, in order for something to be a clause it must contain a subject and a predicate. But a phrase on the other hand does not have a subject and a predicate. Now, it may include a noun or a verb, but it CANNOT contain a subject or a predicate.

What I’ve just explained is THE difference between an adjective phrase and an adjective clause.

Hopefully this clears up some confusion.


Alright, now let’s look at some examples, and practice identifying the adjective clauses or phrases in each sentence.

The very small hamster ran on the running wheel.


Very small is the adjective phrase that is modifying the noun hamster. The reason we know it’s functioning as an adjective is because it is modifying a noun, and the reason we know it is a phrase is because it does not contain a subject and a predicate.

Jacob is the one whose father manages the car dealership.


Whose father manages the car dealership is an adjective clause. It modifies the noun Jacob, and contains a subject (father) and predicate (manages the car dealership).

Ashley went to the gym where she takes karate lessons.


Where she takes karate lessons is an adjective clause. It modifies the noun gym, and contains a subject (she) and a predicate (takes karate lessons).

The mug on the counter had a beautiful design on it.


On the counter is an adjective phrase. It modifies the noun mug, and it contains a noun, but no verb.

I hope that this video has helped you to identify adjective clauses and phrases.

See you guys next time!


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by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: August 3, 2023