In more complex English sentences, often question words (i.e. who, what, where, when, why, how) are used to begin a descriptive clause. We do this to combine multiple ideas together into a single sentence, rather than using several short sentences. This allows for more fluid and descriptive speech, and is an essential part of understanding higher level English sentence patterns.

To describe people, the question word who is used.

For example, the following two short sentences:
  • I saw a man yesterday.
  • The man looked like my friend.

These sentences can be combined by using the word who as follows:
  • The man who I saw yesterday looked like my friend

Notice that the word who is placed immediately after the noun you wish to further describe, and that the statement after who is describing the noun further. Other examples:
  • I don't know the woman who keeps calling me.
  • The little boy who fell into the river last week is doing fine now
  • Tom doesn't like people who are not polite.


Such descriptive clauses can also be combined to describe multiple people in the statement. For example:
  • There was a man in the park who was interviewing people who were on vacation today.

In the above sentence, "was interviewing people" describes "a man in the park", and "were on vacation" describes "people".

Another example:
  • He is a kind man who helps children who have lost their families.

Native English speakers often include such descriptive clauses in their sentences, and understanding how such sentences are constructed and how to interpret the information is very important to improving your English skills. Good luck!

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