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,what the difference between who and whom

Hello kacem,

'Whom' is the object form of 'who'. It is quite unusual in modern English and can sound quite old-fashioned. Most people use 'who' for all forms except when the word follows a preposition such as to, for, with and so on. In these cases 'whom' is still quite common.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello.
what has been the adjective clause before reduction to adjective phrase?
The driver, not realizing that the traffic light has been red, crossed the street.

Hello amirfd,

We're happy to help you with this, but we generally ask that you tell us what you think the answer is. This sentence is a little bit awkward, but I imagine it was something like 'The driver, who didn't realize that the light was red, crossed the street.'

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi there,

''He found out that he has been there''

We do not use a relative pronoun ''that'' after prepositions, but I do not understand why we use it after a phrasal verb. Is it because it is a unit? If so, why do we not use the pronoun after a dependent preposition even tough the dependent preposition is a part of the unit too; for example, ''He apologized for that he was late''

Thank you in advance

Hello JakiGeh,

'that' is not a relative pronoun in this sentence -- it is a conjunction that links the verb before to it to the clause after it. In any case, the word 'out' in 'found out', as part of a phrasal verb, is not really a preposition but rather an adverb particle, so the rules for prepositions don't really apply.

When 'apologize' has a direct object, we use the preposition 'for' between it and the direct object. This is simply the pattern we use with 'for', i.e. it's just the way people have come to use the verb 'apologize'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir,

Did you mean in the sentence: ''He apologized that ...'' ''that'' is a conjunction? If so, if it is a conjunction, we could put the clause in the beginning: ''That ..., he apologized''.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

Thank you once again.

Hello JakiGeh,

Sorry for the confusion. I was speaking about 'that' in 'he found out that ...', though there are also many other instances of this pattern (e.g. 'she thought that it wasn't going to rain', 'we admitted that they were right').

'apologize for that ...' with 'that' as a conjunction (e.g. 'he apologized for that he had shouted' is not grammatical in English. Rather, as you suggested, we use a gerund after the preposition: 'he apologized for having shouted (or 'shouting'). Beginning the sentence with a 'that' clause is also not grammatical.

In many ways, Spanish and English have similar grammar, but this is one area in which they differ. English isn't as systematic as Spanish with this kind of structure -- what structure you need to use is determined by the verb. Our verbs with -ing forms, verbs with to + infinitive and reporting verbs with that pages, as well as this page gives a good list of verbs and the patterns used after them.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello.
The package contains books and records --------- to the library recently.
a.delivered
b.has been delivered
I have problem in difference between adjective phrase and passive voice.

Hello amirfd,

For one thing, b) cannot be correct because the auxiliary verb 'has' is used with singular subjects. In this phrase, the subject is 'books and records', which is plural. a) is a reduced relative clause -- in other words, it is 'that (or 'which') have been delivered' reduced to just the form 'delivered'. See this relative clauses page for more information on this.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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