Complex sentences

Adding more detail

Adding qualifying details

If you've done the lesson on Noun Groups then you might remember the concept of a qualifier:

As they walked into the terminal, a blond woman in a hot pink suit ran up to them.

Mosquito Advertising: The Blade BriefKate HunterSource

Qualifiers add extra detail to a thing—they help us be more specific.

(Not just any woman, but a woman in a hot pink suit.)

Often qualifiers appear as noun groups inside prepositional phrases—essentially qualifying one person or thing with another thing (a woman in a hot pink suit).

But we can also qualify people and things with events:

As they walked into the terminal, a blond woman who was holding a chipmunk ran up to them.

Again, we've been more specific about the woman, but instead of qualifying her with a thing (a hot pink suit) we've qualified her with a supporting event (holding a chipmunk).

What additional event-based detail do we get about the airlock in this snippet?

The rear of the trailer has an airlock that we're not going to mess with.

The MartianAndy Weir

What type of airlock is it?

One that we're not going to mess with.

Your turn

Relative pronouns (like 'who', 'that', or 'which') are the main way we can make supporting clauses that add detail to a noun group.

Extra credit: Relative pronouns have a dual purpose

Can you find the relative pronouns in these snippets?

He looked at the guard who sat slumped in his seat.

HolesLouis SacharSource

Like most people, she was terrible at things she didn't like.

Mosquito Advertising: The Blade BriefKate HunterSource
"Where’s the relative pronoun!?" 😩

My mother looks at my father, who is looking off toward the window.

Written in the StarsAisha SaeedSource
Extra credit: What’s that comma doing? (‘Identifying’ and ‘non-identifying’ qualifying clauses)
Your turn

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