Homework Help

What is the adjective clause in the sentence? Lonesome George is a tortoise believed to...

user profile pic

pabippus | eNoter

Posted May 26, 2013 at 10:55 PM via web

dislike 4 like

What is the adjective clause in the sentence?

Lonesome George is a tortoise believed to be the oldest tortoise who lives in a zoo.

Tagged with adjective clause, grammar

2 Answers | Add Yours

Top Answer

user profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 27, 2013 at 5:54 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 2 like

Adjective clauses usually begin with one of the relative pronouns:  who, whom, whose, which, or that. Sometimes, however they may begin with a relative adverb, such as when, where why, before, or since. These words are termed "relative" since they "relate" or tie to a word in the clause that it modifies. They also modify (describe or limit) nouns. In the example sentence,

Lonesome George is a tortoise believed to be the oldest tortoise who lives in a zoo.

  • the first relative clause--"believed to be the oldest tortoise"--is elliptical because the relative pronoun that, or which, is missing, along with the predicate of the adjective clause, is.
  • The second relative clause--"who lives in a zoo"--is not an elliptical clause as all the words are expressed. This clause modifies the noun tortoise.

 

There are three conditions to Adjective Clauses:

  1. Like single-word adjectives or adjectival phrases, adjective clauses may modify any noun or pronoun in a sentence. Thus they may be (a) modifying a subject, (b) modifying a direct object, (c) modifying an object of a preposition.
  2. An adjective clause must closely follow the word it modifies.
  3. Adjective clauses often allow the writer to combine information from two sentences into one sentence.

An adjective clause must closely follow the word it modifies, a word that is either a noun or pronoun. In the above example sentence, the first adjective clause, beginning with [that is] believed"...closely follows the noun it modifies, "tortoise"; and the second one, "who lives in a zoo" closely follows "tortoise," also. 

Sources:

user profile pic

litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 26, 2013 at 11:27 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Lonesome George is a tortoise believed to be the oldest tortoise who lives in a zoo.

A compound-complex sentence has at least one independent clause and at least one subordinate (dependent) clause.  Both clauses act as sentences, except that only one can stand on its own.  The sentence that can be a complete sentence by itself is the independent clause.  In your sentence, the first clause is the independent clause.

Lonesome George is a tortoise

By itself, this sentence has a subject and a verb.  The subject is Lonesome George, with the verb is.  You don’t really need the other clauses about him being the oldest tortoise.

That leaves the second clause and third clause, the subordinate or dependent clauses.  Subordinate clauses can be adjectives or adverbs.  If they describe the subject they are adjective clauses.  If they describe the verb, they are adverb clauses. 

This clause is an adjective clause because it describes the tortoise.

believed to be the oldest tortoise

This clause is also an adjective clause, and also unnecessary.

who lives in a zoo

One way you can tell it’s an adjective clause is because it begins with who, so it must describe the noun.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes