Relative Clauses: Pronouns

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Relative Clauses: Pronouns

Defining Relative Clauses: relative pronouns

Defining relative clauses give detailed information defining a general term or expression. Defining relative clauses are not put in commas.  Defining relative clauses are often used in definitions. Object pronouns in defining relative clauses can be dropped.

 

Relative pronoun

use

examples

 

 

 

Who / That

 

 

 

Subject pronoun for people

 

I told you about the woman who/that lives next door.

 

Do you know the girl who/that is talking to Tom?

 

A seaman is someone who/that works on a ship.

Who / That /whom

Object pronoun for people

  • pronoun not necessary
  • whom: very formal, only in writing

 

The boy (who/whom/that) we met yesterday is very nice.

 

I was invited by the professor (whom/who/that) I met at the conference.

 

 

Which /that

subject pronoun for animals and things

  • 'which' is more formal

Do you see the cat which/that is lying on the roof?

 

I don’t like the table which/that stands in the kitchen.

 

 

Which /that

Object pronoun for animals and things

(pronoun not necessary)

 

 

Have you seen the car (that/which) I just bought?

 whose

possession for people, animals and things

Do you know the boy whose mother is a nurse?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-Defining Relative Clauses: Relative Pronouns

Non-defining relative clauses give additional information on something, but do not define it. Non-defining relative clauses are put in commas.

In non-defining relative clauses, who/which may not be replaced with ‘that’. Object pronouns in non-defining relative clauses must be used.

We use relative clauses to give additional information about something without starting another sentence. By combining sentences with a relative clause, your text becomes more fluent and you can avoid repeating certain words.

 

 

Relative pronoun

use

examples

 

 

 

 

Who

 

Subject pronoun for people

 

 

 

John, who speaks French and German, works as a tour guide.

 

Jane, who is talking to Tom, doesn’t seem very happy.

 

 

 

 

 

Who / whom

 

Object pronoun for people

 

 

 

The professor, whom/who I met at the conference, invited me to visit his university.

 

 

 

 

 

which

 

subject or object pronoun for animals and things

 

We stayed at the Hilton, which a friend recommended.

 

My cat, which I adopted last year, has never had kittens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

which

 

referring to a whole sentence

 

John got the job, which surprised me.

 

 

 

 

 

whose

 

 

possession for people, animals and things

 

 

 

Tina, whose car had broken down, came by train.

 

 

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