Relative clauses first appear in learner work at the A2 level. Although learners are not generally taught relative clauses until B1, learners can use both defining and non-defining relative clauses at this early stage. However, learners frequently omit the necessary comma with non-defining relative clauses at this level.

Learners at the A2 level can produce statements that use non-defining relative clauses with who as the subject.

A2 50x33   I watched it with my brother who was also interested in sports. (Cambridge English: Key; Chinese)

A2 50x33   It’s given by Jenny who is one of my best friends. (Cambridge English: Key; Chinese)

A2 50x33   I want my mobile before this afternoon because my parents who are in Japan will call me. (Cambridge English: Key; Tamil)

Learners can also use a non-defining relative clause with which as the subject.

A2 50x33   I’ve been to Cardiff which is the capital city of Wales. (Cambridge English: Key; Korean)

A2 50x33   I visited a museum and an exhibition which were really excellent. (Cambridge English: Key for Schools; Tamil)

A2 50x33   I bought two shirts, which cost £20 and four sweatshirts, which were a little expensive. (Cambridge English: Key; French)

Non-defining relative clauses with which as the object also appear in learner work at the A2 level.

A2 50x33   The best of all was a marble statue which my aunt gave me. (Cambridge English: Key; Bengali)

A2 50x33   Thanks for your letter which I received a few days ago. (Cambridge English: Key; Greek)

Learners at the A2 level can also use defining relative clauses with who as the subject.

A2 50x33   It’s about a girl who went to the war when she was 22 years old. (Cambridge English: Key; Spanish - Latin American)

A2 50x33   I’d like a pen-friend who really likes music and reading. (Cambridge English: Key; Chinese)

A2 50x33   I can tell you that I agree with people who think that Stonehenge is a magic place. (Skills for Life: Entry 2; Polish)

Defining relative clauses with which as the subject are also present in learner work at this level.

A2 50x33   At the end of the game, the KASAS sang to Hagas a piece of music which makes me cry. Suzanna watched with me and she cried a lot. (Cambridge English: Key; Portuguese)

A2 50x33   You should wear clothes which can get dirty. (Cambridge English: Key; Swiss German)

A2 50x33   I bought a t-shirt which has a picture of a car on it and I bought a shirt for my brother. (Cambridge English: Key; Turkish)

Learners can use a defining relative clause with which as the object.

A2 50x33   I came to your house yesterday with the computer game which I borrowed from Mayank. (Cambridge English: Key; Hindi)

A2 50x33   The coffee-cup which my good friend gave me is pretty. (Cambridge English: Key; Chinese)

A2 50x33   The colour which I prefer is pink, so we will use pink. (Cambridge English: Key; Bihari)

That is also used as the object in defining relative clauses at this level.

A2 50x33   The team that I like is called ‘The Monkeys’, but Paty prefers ‘The Walls’. (Cambridge English: Key; Spanish - Latin American)

A2 50x33   I bought some clothes that I will need for my trip to Greece. (Cambridge English: Key; Greek)

A2 50x33   Please, wear clothes that you can get dirty; use old clothes, okay? (Cambridge English: Key; Portuguese)

A2 level learners are also able to use a defining relative clause without a relative pronoun.

A2 50x33   My friends said the clothes I wore were very old, and they didn’t like them. (Cambridge English: Key; Spanish - European)

A2 50x33   All my friends gave me a present but the one I liked best was John’s. (Cambridge English: Key; Portuguese)

A2 50x33   Here I have the information you want. (Cambridge English: Key; Spanish - European)

A2 level learners show an impressive ability to use different forms of the relative clause accurately and appropriately, even though these clauses are not often introduced at this level. However, the frequency of punctuation error at this level is significant and remains frequent in learners’ use of non-defining relative clauses until the C1 level is achieved.

Cambridge University Press