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.




thanks you sir for replying,
your lines taught me all, and i understood it. thank you very much.

you won't normally see the antecedent of the pronoun (i.e. the noun that it refers to) along with the pronoun, because the whole point of using the pronoun is to avoid using the antecedent.

thank you sir, for this explanation.

have a nice day!!!

thanks again!!!!!!

when we use something for a noun (instead of noun), it is called a pronoun.
WHO has been used for a noun Kirk,

Kirk, WHO is my brother, is a teacher.

WHO is my brother = Kirk

has the word WHO not been used for a noun 'Kirk'?

who is Kirk? = interrogative pronoun OK, understand

kirk, WHO......

respected sir, I always commit mistakes between relative pronoun and interrogative pronoun
. i would be very happy if i get more explanation

I have two questions:
When to use which or that ?
When to use who or that ?

Does the restrictive and non-restrictive clause rules are applicable?

Hello RaghavGohil,

As the information on the page says:

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

That is only used in restrictive relative clauses; in non-restrictive clauses we use who or which.

In restrictive relative clauses in terms of meaning there is no difference. In terms of style and register, none of these are informal but I would say that that is less common in formal writing.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

How can I explain Japanese students to use 'where' in the sentence:

Tokyo, the place ............ (where) we first met

and not: at where, in where, which

Hello Birgit,

I would probably insist that this is a pattern that they just need to learn. The word 'there' collocates with 'the place' (or other places, e.g. 'the city', 'the school', etc.) and is the relative pronoun that begins a relative clause.

It's of course possible to say 'Tokyo, the city in which ...', but it sounds formal and native speakers generally find it easier to say 'where'.

I'm not sure if this will help you, but I hope it does!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

(1) There was champa,rose,jasmine and lotus.
(2) There were champa,rose,jasmine and lotus.
Tell me Which of these two is correct?

Hello Keeplearning_english,

The first of these is correct. When the items in the list are singular we use a singular verb. When the list is mixed we make the verb agree with the first item in the list:

There was champa,rose,jasmine and lotus. [all singualar]

There were roses, tulips and daffodils. [all plural]

There was a rose, four tulips and three daffodils. [mixed; the first is singular]


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir
I did your grammar exercise under 'relative pronouns' and I answered it well. Now I have a question - that is 'which relative pronoun is used for animals ? Could I used 'that or which' eg. I have a puppy which/that is 3 months old. Is that correct? Please let me know.
Thank you.
Andrew international

Hello Andrew international,

Congratulations on your exercise result! For animals we usually use either 'which' or 'that' and not 'who'.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team