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

Hi,
In my workbook, there is two sentences "Brenda is my friend. I go to school with her". I have to use relative pronoun to emerge these two sentences.
(1) Brenda, who I go to school with, is my friend.
(2) Brenda is my friend who I go to school with.

Are the two sentences correct?

Hi annhien92,

I'm afraid we don't provide answers to questions from elsewhere. Otherwise we would end up doing everyone's homework for them! This is a task for you to do and your teacher to check.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

How to use relative pronouns after "of" like "They had four children, all of ............... went to university." . Thank you!

Hello tukhanhlinh,

The word 'of' here is a preposition and so needs an object after it. A relative pronoun can be an object but we do not use 'who' after a preposition; therefore 'whom' is correct here. You can also use 'which'. Generally we do not use this when talking about people but when it is follows a preposition it is acceptable. 

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I would like to know the difference between a defining relative clause and a non-defining relative clause?

Hello Maryse20,

There are several ways to find this information. You can go through our Grammar pages, using the links to get to the section you wish. You can use our Quick Grammar pages and see if the topic is addressed there. However, probably the quickest way is to use the site's search facility. Just click on the magnifying glass at the top of the page and type in the term you wish to search for. You'll see a list of relevant pages - like this.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

the woman who discovered radium

(the woman that discovered radium) if this sentence are not correct. tell me why

thanks hussain

"an eight-year-old boy who attempted to rob a sweet shop"

hi peter

i need clarify about this question. why you using "a sweet shop" instead of " at sweet shop" my question is why don't use "at". if it will use "at" correct or not correct.

thanks

Hello again taj25,

In the sentence you ask about, 'a sweet shop' is the direct object of the verb 'rob'. It would not be correct to use 'at' here, as that would be a prepositional phrase.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,

Kindly let me know about the uses of "What" as a relative pronoun.

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