The relative pronouns are:

 

Subject Object Possessive
who who(m) whose
which which whose
that that  

 


We use who and whom for people, and which for things.
Or we can use that for people or things.

We use relative pronouns:

after a noun, to make it clear which person or thing we are talking about:

the house that Jack built
the woman who discovered radium
an eight-year-old boy who attempted to rob a sweet shop

to tell us more about a person or thing:

My mother, who was born overseas, has always been a great traveller.
Lord Thompson, who is 76, has just retired.
We had fish and chips, which is my favourite meal.

But we do not use that as a subject in this kind of relative clause.

We use whose as the possessive form of who:

This is George, whose brother went to school with me.

We sometimes use whom as the object of a verb or preposition:

This is George, whom you met at our house last year.
This is George’s brother, with whom I went to school.

But nowadays we normally use who:

This is George, who you met at our house last year.
This is George’s brother, who I went to school with.

When whom or which have a preposition the preposition can come at the beginning of the clause...

I had an uncle in Germany, from who[m] I inherited a bit of money.
We bought a chainsaw, with which we cut up all the wood.

or at the end of the clause:

I had an uncle in Germany who[m] I inherited a bit of money from.
We bought a chainsaw, which we cut all the wood up with.

We can use that at the beginning of the clause:

I had an uncle in Germany that I inherited a bit of money from.
We bought a chainsaw that we cut all the wood up with.

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

Hello Marcela Santos,

Only 'which' is correct because only 'which' can be the object of a preposition. In this sentence, 'which' is the object of 'of'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

hello
01.The student in grade eleven are organizing a debate competition on 3R attitude.
02.The student are in grade eleven are organizing a debate competition on 3R attitude.
03.The student who are in grade eleven are organizing a debate copetition on 3R attitude.
Can you help me to recognize the one that is grammatically more correct please ?

Hello raj jk,

All three mistakes have an error -- the subject should be plural ('students' instead of 'student'). Once that correction is made, then 1 and 3 are correct, but 1 is better because there is no real need for a relative clause ('who are'). As a general rule, simpler is better.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

hello
I have little doubt about correctness of the following sentences
01.Apples that contain poisons are harmful for children.
01.Apples those contain poisons are harmful for children.
that or those? that is the problem

Hello raj jk,

The first sentence is correct and the second one is not. 'that' is a relative pronoun in this sentence.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Team.
I replace this sentence from Word on the Street, Bonfire Night episode.
"Join Joe to find out why the British celebrate people trying to blow up Parliament".
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1. There are two words omitted before the verb 'trying' in the sentence. They are ' who was', right?
2. Could I change 'trying' in the sentence into 'that tried' or 'who tried' ?
Would you mind explaining, please?
Thank you very much.

Hello Nizam Balinese,

You are correct that there are words omitted here and you are also correct in identifying which words could be added. The construction here is a relative clause and when we miss out these words we call it a reduced or simplified relative clause. You can read more about these here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter.
Thank you very much for explaining.
Please, don't be tired to help me.
I know, it's difficult to be a good teacher but you must be know that more difficult to be a good student moreover what we're learning now is not our own language.
Could you imagine what i have done for along time, open and open again my dictionary and then in every end I study, there is always a rising question "What's it all for?".
This passion doesn't come from a good teacher like you or from another kind person.
I need extra effort to make it out by myself.
Have you ever counted how many seriously student do you have in life as teacher?
Did you easy to find him?
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Hope, you and your country will be proud of this.
Best regards,
your seriously student

Hello Nizam Balinese,

Thank you for your lovely comment. We're all teachers here in the LearnEnglish Team and it's our aim to provide as much help as we can. It's nice to hear when our help makes a difference for people! Unfortunately we have many thousands of users on the site and very limited time, so it's only possible for us to provide a certain amount of help.

Thanks again,

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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