relative pronouns

 

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

Comments

Who are you looking for? or Whom are you looking? which is correct.

Hi afsalrahiman,

"Who are you looking for?" is correct, and "Whom are you looking for?" is also correct, though whom isn't used much anymore except in formal situations. Most of the time, you'll hear the first question, not the second one.

When it is used, whom must refer to the object of a verb or preposition - in this question, it is the object of the preposition for.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

join the sentence using which or who:

I didn't like the main character. He was played by John Smith.

Hello almutarjim,

Both 'who' and 'which' are possible in this sentence.  It depends on whether the speaker sees 'character' as a person (which is quite possible - we often talk about characters in books or films as if they were real people) or a thing (also possible, as 'character' is an element of a book or film like 'plot' or 'script').  In other words, both are possible and which is used will depend upon how the speaker chooses to see the topic.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello teacher,

I understand that the sentence in English consist of Noun phrase and verb phrase.

The sentence which I was reading here , makes some problem in understanding to me.

The sentence is:

The house that Jack built.

The house................ ( the house is Noun phrase ( It's OK )

But the rest of the sentence is difficult to understand it.
Which part of speech?
And where is the verb phrase?

Hi sdgnour2014,

"The house that Jack built" is not a complete sentence in English, precisely because it lacks a verb phrase. Actually, all of that phrase is a complex noun phrase composed of "the house" plus the relative clause "that Jack built". "built" is a verb, but since it is part of the relative clause "that Jack built", which is itself part of the entire noun phrase, it doesn't count as a verb.

As for what it means, this phrase refers to a house. The house was built by a person. That person is Jack.

I hope this helps!

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

 

Hello teacher, I think about two things about the sentence and I want you to correct me.

1- The house that Jack built: Can I say Jack is the subject of the relative clause? Can I remove the relative and say: The house Jack built is far away from here.

2- I know that we sometimes can remove the relative in English , but I forget the rule can you give me examples please?

Hello,

I like to know about the examples which were mentioned above by Ravi.
I like to know about the examples which Ravi mentioned above.

Are these two sentences grammatically correct?

Thank you.

Hi bimsara,

In both sentences, "I like" should be changed to "I would like", but otherwise they are both correct.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, is this sentence AND the use of whose is correct?

1- This is to certify that, Mr John , whose working/worked in this company in the period between 10/5/2012 to 10/10/2014 is a good behavior and devotion in his work.

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