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Welcome to this week's writing lesson from

 MyEnglishTeacher.net

When?  Where?

Lesson Topic: Using When and Where in Adjective Clauses

Look at the following 2 sentences:
I remember the time when was a lot of fun for our whole family.

We want to visit a place where is celebrating the New Year. 

How's the grammar?  You may have learned that when you write adjective clauses, use when with time words and where with place words.  However, that is only part of the story.  There are some simple rules to remember.  Look at the above examples.  We used when with time (a time word) and where with place (a place word).  Are the above sentences correct?  NO.  Let us explain.  

In this lesson, we will discuss adjective clauses.  We strongly recommend you read our first lesson on adjective clauses in order to thoroughly understand this lesson.  We will republish part of the first lesson about adjective clauses here.  

Adjective clauses are adjectives.  However, they look like sentences because they have verbs and nouns.  Take a look at the following sentences with adjectives.  

     I love my new watch.

     George gave me a leather wallet.

     Elvis Presley was a famous singer.

     She just bought a blue car.  

All of the words in red are adjectives.  They are describing the nouns (the words in blue).

Here are some more examples:

I just bought the you recommended book.

Frank is the taught me how to cook chef.

Snowmobiles are you can ride on the snow cars.  

Notice that these adjectives have verbs (recommended, taught, and ride).  In fact, these adjectives look like small sentences!  In some languages, this grammar is correct.   In English, however, the above 3 sentences are INCORRECT!  The problem is that when the adjective has a verb (and looks like a small sentence), it canNOT be before the noun.  When the adjective has a verb (like the above examples), they are placed AFTER the noun.  In addition, these types of adjectives are called adjective clauses. 

As we said above, adjective clauses are adjectives, but they look like sentences because they have verbs and nouns. Because they look like sentences, put the adjective clause after the noun, like these:

I just bought the book you recommended.

Frank is the chef taught me how to cook.

Snowmobiles are cars you can ride on the snow.  

THERE IS STILL A PROBLEM.  When you use adjective clauses, you often need a word that connects the noun with the adjective clause.  The word acts like glue and keeps the noun and the adjective clause together.  This word is called the relative pronoun.  For our purposes, letís call it the RP (relative pronoun).

So, here are the rules:

If the NOUN is a    then the RP is
person >> who or that
thing >> which or that

Using these rules, we get:  

I just bought the book which you recommended.

-OR-

I just bought the book that you recommended.  

Frank is the chef who taught me how to cook.

-OR-

Frank is the chef that taught me how to cook.  

Snowmobiles are cars which you can ride on the snow.

-OR-

Snowmobiles are cars that you can ride on the snow.  

If the noun you are describing is a word of time or a place, you can use other words.

If the NOUN is a    then the RP is
time word >> when or which or that
place >> where or which or that
 

For example, let's put the following two sentences together.

I remember the day.  My son was born on that day.

In the first sentence, which word do we want to describe and add an adjective clause to?  Day.  Is day a time word?  Yes.  Then add that, which, or when.

I remember the day that my son was born.

-OR-  

I remember the day when my son was born.

-OR-

I remember the day on which my son was born.


Notice that the preposition on is not used in time adjective clauses with that and when; the preposition on remains with which

 

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Let's do the same thing with the word where.  Put the following two sentences together with where
This is a big park.  You can have a lot of fun in that park. 

In the first sentence, which word do we want to describe and add an adjective clause to?  Park.  Is park a place word?  Yes.  Then add that, which, where.  
This is a big park that you can have a lot of fun in

-OR-  

This is a big park which you can have a lot of fun in

-OR-

This is a big park in which you can have a lot of fun. 

-OR-

This is a big park where you can have a lot of fun. 

Again, notice that the preposition in remains in the sentence with that and which; it is not in the sentence with where.  Also notice that the preposition in can be before which or at the end of the adjective clause; prepositions can never be before that.

Let's go back to the first two sentences at the beginning of this lesson.  
I remember the time when was a lot of fun for our whole family.

We want to visit a place where is celebrating the New Year. 

We have already said that there is a problem with them.  Everything seems okay.  Time is, of course, a time word; place is a place word.  Though many books give complicated grammar rules that are very difficult to remember, we offer you this simple rule: the word after when and where (in adjective clauses) canNOT be a verb.  Now, look at the words after when and where in the above two sentences.  What are they?  They are verbs.  Hence, you cannot use when and where in these adjective clauses.  Just use that or which.  As a result, we get the following corrected sentences:

I remember the time which was a lot of fun for our whole family.

We want to visit a place which is celebrating the New Year.

When the noun is a proper name (begins with a capital letter) and is a place word, use where.

You would love South Korea, where almost everyone loves to go hiking.

South Korea is a proper name, so use where.  

However, if the word after where is a verb, then use which

CORRECT You would love South Korea, which has many mountains for hiking.
INCORRECT You would love South Korea, where has many mountains for hiking.

 

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Quiz time

Directions: For each of the following, put the 2 sentences together by using an adjective clause.  There may be more than one answer.  (Hint:  First, decide which word you want to describe.  Then, add the adjective clause to that word.)

1.  1492 is the year.  Columbus discovered North America in that year.

2.  Beijing is the place.  That place has an area in a park called English Corner.

3.  English Corner is a pretty section in a local park.  In English Corner, people speak only English.

4. I come from a city.  In that city, you can go dancing all night long.

5.  Thursday, December 17, 1903 is the day.  On that day, history was made because it was the first successful trip in a self-propelled, heavier-than-air flying machine.

 

Answers are in red.

1.  1492 is the year.  Columbus discovered North America in that year.

1492 is the year when Columbus discovered North America.

1492 is the year in which Columbus discovered North America.

1492 is the year that Columbus discovered North America.

2.  Beijing is the place.  That place has an area in a park called English Corner.

Beijing is the place that has an area in a park called English Corner.

Beijing is the place which has an area in a park called English Corner.

You cannot use where.  Why?  Because the word after that is a verb!  See the above rule.

3.  English Corner is a pretty section in a local park.  In English Corner, people speak only English.

English Corner is a pretty section in a local park where people speak only English.

English Corner is a pretty section in a local park in which people speak only English.

English Corner is a pretty section in a local park which people speak only English in.

English Corner is a pretty section in a local park that people speak only English in.

The first two answers above are more commonly said and more natural.  That's because the in is a little too far away from which and that.  

4. I come from a city.  In that city, you can go dancing all night long.

I come from a city where you can go dancing all night long.

I come from a city in which you can go dancing all night long.

I come from a city which you can go dancing all night long in.

I come from a city that you can go dancing all night long in.

Again, the first two answers above are more commonly said and more natural.  That's because the in is a little too far away from which and that.  

5.  Thursday, December 17, 1903 is the day.  On that day, history was made because it was the first successful trip in a self-propelled, heavier-than-air flying machine.

Thursday, December 17, 1903 is the day when history was made because it was the first successful trip in a self-propelled, heavier-than-air flying machine.

Thursday, December 17, 1903 is the day on which history was made because it was the first successful trip in a self-propelled, heavier-than-air flying machine.

Thursday, December 17, 1903 is the day which history was made on because it was the first successful trip in a self-propelled, heavier-than-air flying machine.

Thursday, December 17, 1903 is the day that history was made on because it was the first successful trip in a self-propelled, heavier-than-air flying machine.

 

  Rules to Remember!

1 If you are using a preposition with which or that, the preposition should not be too far away from which or that.  The following may be grammatically correct, but it is somewhat unnatural because the preposition is too far away from the 

     English Corner is a pretty section in a local park which people speak only English in.

2 Don't use that after proper names.  

     Mount Everest, which is the highest mountain in the world, is very dangerous to climb.

3 For further rules and explanations on the use of adjective clauses, see our first lesson on this subject.  Click here!

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