Relative clauses – Part One

Relative clauses provide additional information about a subject or object in a sentence. 

A relative clause usually comes directly after the subject or object it refers to.

This is the man who stole my cat. - subject
He stole the cat that I bought last week. - object

Relative clauses usually begin with a relative pronoun or adverb.

Relative PronounRelative Adverb
which when


The number of cars.
The number of cars that were sold in June.

This relative clause defines (or distinguishes) the exact type of car sales the writer is referring to.  So, the writer is not talking about all cars sold, only those sold in June. For this reason this is a defining relative clause. 

The questions provided with IELTS diagrams often contain a noun that can be changed into a verb to help paraphrase (see here). This is usually easiest when combined with a quantifier and relative clause.

For example:

Original: The diagram below shows student applications for universities in the UK.
Essay introduction: The diagram shows the number of students who applied for universities in the UK.
Original: The table below shows yearly electricity consumption for average UK households.
Essay introduction: The diagram shows the amount of electricity that was consumed by average UK households

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