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

sir,
In the following sentence what does 'such were' refers to?

When this bracing elements of craftsmanship ceased to dominate artists' outlook, new technical elements had to be adopted to maintain the intellectual elements in art. Such were linear perspective and anatomy.

Hello neh7272,

I find this pair of sentences a bit unnatural, to be honest, but what I understand is that 'such' refers to 'new technical elements'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Sir can you please these following clear:

The surya whom you met last night is my friend.
Vs
The surya who you met last night is my friend.
I was following wren and martin were it says noun/pronoun followed by who is used to define, limit and restrict the noun/ pronoun.
But here "met" verb takes you as the subject and surya is an object.

So please make it clear.

Hello suryachaitanya,

Both of the sentences are correct. Traditionally, only 'whom' was considered correct here since it is the object of 'met', but in modern use, 'who' is very commonly used in the place of 'whom'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you sir.

Thank you the teachers of LearnEnglish – British Council always helpful we understand way clear to use indefinite pronouns in english.

hello,
Peter is the man Whom we want to be our next captain.
Peter is the man Who we want to be our next captain.
sir please tell me which one is right.

Peter is the candidate who we are expecting to be our next captain.

The second is true. The subject (He, she, it) does actions, while the object (him, her) receives actions. "Who" is a subject, but "Whom" is an object. Therefore, The first is wrong.

Hi
I am confused about how to describe the following situation.

There was a bus running through me and I was wondering what specific purpose that kind of bus in general is used for. How should I ask such a question?

1) is that the bus used for...
2) are that the buses used for...
3) is that buses used for
4) That is the buses used for... Isn't it?
5) That are the buses used for... Aren't it?

Hello Hugong,

Sentence 1 is the only one that is grammatically correct – note that 'bus' and 'that' are singular forms, whereas 'buses' is plural. I'm not sure I understand what you mean, i.e. I don't understand 'a bus running through me', but I think the question you're looking for might be 'What is that bus used for?'

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Pages