Relative clauses

Pronouns Review

relative pronoun use example
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)

Are these sentences defining or not? Can we omit the relative pronoun here?

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

Ready to try an exercise? Click here or here.

Some more relative quizzes on  Which & Where and That vs What. And an exercise of it all here.

This entry was posted in Grammar, Outcomes, Textbook, Unit 5. Bookmark the permalink.

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