Contact Clauses

What is a contact clause?

A contact clause is a type of relative clause. The difference being that with a contact clause we get rid of the relative pronoun. (who, that, which etc)

What is a relative clause?

A relative clause is a type of clause that is used to add extra information to the clause before it.

I want to know the person who did this.

In this sentence, the main clause is “I want to know the person”. We then add our relative clause “who did this” to give extra information. In this example “who” is our relative pronoun.

Back to contact clauses

As mentioned before, our contact clauses are a type of clause where we can drop the relative pronoun. This can sound odd sometimes with certain clauses. In general if the relative pronoun is the subject of a sentence then it shouldn’t be dropped. Here are some examples of contact clauses at work.

What was that thing I gave you yesterday?

This is that person I told you about.

That’s the reason I didn’t go.

In these sentences the relative pronoun is not the subject so we can drop them. However, in the the sentences below, the relative pronoun is the subject and therefore we must keep it in.

I want to speak to the person who kicked the ball.

That dress that was for sale has gone already!

That is the reason why running from the police is stupid.

A good way to remember whether you can drop the relative pronoun is this.

If a verb comes after the relative pronoun then you can’t drop it.