|who||subject or object pronoun for people||I told you about the woman who lives next door.|
|which||subject or object pronoun for animals and things||Do you see the cat which is lying on the roof?|
|which||referring to a whole sentence||He couldn’t read which surprised me.|
|whose||possession for people animals and things||Do you know the boy whose mother is a nurse?|
|whom||object pronoun for people, especially in non-defining relative clauses (in defining relative clauses we colloquially prefer who)||I was invited by the professor whom I met at the conference.|
|that||subject or object pronoun for people, animals and things in defining relative clauses (who or which are also possible)||I don’t like the table that stands in the kitchen.|
How much do you remember? Try this exercise here.
Defining and Non-defining
>A defining relative clause tells which noun we are talking about:
- I like the woman who lives next door. (If I don’t say ‘who lives next door’, then we don’t know which woman I mean)
No commas are used to separate a defining relative clause from the rest of the sentence.
When the relative pronoun is the object of the relative clause, it is often left out (omitted).
The boy (who/whom) we met yesterday is very nice.
> A non-defining relative clause gives us extra information about something. We don’t need this information to understand the sentence.
- I live in London, which has some fantastic parks. (Everybody knows where London is, ‘which has some fantastic parks’ is extra information)
Relative clauses with prepositions
We can use a preposition before which and whom eg. in which, with whom in a defining relative clause. Ex. The girl at whom I was looking was very pretty.
But in everyday speech , it is more normal to put the preposition at the end of the clause and to leave out the relative pronoun. Ex. The girl I was looking at was very pretty