Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 56 – Grammar – Non-Defining Relative Clauses

We’re back with non-defining relative clauses today! I hope you guys will enjoy this one as much as I have.

Read sentences a-f and answer the questions.

A. Michael Jordan, who was born in America, was an NBA player.

B. It needed to be a sport which would keep students alert.

C. The man who invented it was Travis.

D. In 2016, when Cleveland went to the NBA championship, the city had finally become champions, eclipsing GS in Game 7 to take home the hardware.

E. Naismith went to Berlin, where the games took place that year.

F. One of my friends live in Mongolia, which is really cold in the winter.


  1. Which sentences do you think are non-defining relative clauses — giving extra, non-essential information?
  2. Which clauses have commas, defining or non-defining relative clauses?
  3. Can we omit the relative pronouns in sentences with non-defining clauses?

We do not use that in non-defining relative clauses.

We always use commas in non-defining relative clauses.

We use non-defining relative clauses to give extra, non-essential information about the person, thing, place or time in the first half of the sentence. The commas work in a similar way to parentheses, showing that the information is not vital to the sentence.

Non defining clauses are not so common in conversation and can seem formal.


Complete the sentences with non-defining relative clauses and the information given.

  1. Golf balls, which are usually white, have a special surface so that they can travel further.
  2. Earl, ___________________________,failed his first driving test. (my friend)
  3. Andy Murray, _______________________________, has won the title. (brother Jamie also plays tennis)
  4. In 2011, __________________________, the final was in England. (Barcelona won the Champions League)
  5. San Pedro Sula, __________________________, is in the Honduras. (the Hondurans national team plays soccer)
  6. Zara Philips, __________________________, won a gold medal for horse-riding. (her grandmother is Queen Elizabeth II)

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