1. The relative pronouns:

The relative pronouns are:
 

Subject  Object  Possessive
who whom, who whose
which which whose
that that  


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

We use relative pronouns to introduce relative clauses, which tell us more about people and things.

2. Relative clauses to postmodify a noun 

We use relative clauses to postmodify a noun - to make clear which person or thing we are talking about. In these clauses we can have the relative pronoun who, which, whose or that

  • as subject (see Clauses Sentences and Phrases)

Isn’t that the woman who lives across the road from you?
The police said the accident that happened last night was unavoidable
The newspaper reported that the tiger which killed its keeper has been put down.

WARNING:
The relative pronoun is the subject of the clause.
We do not repeat the subject:

*The woman who [she] lives across the road…
*The tiger which [it] killed its keeper …

  • as object of a clause (see Clauses, Sentences and Phrases)

Have you seen those people who we met on holiday?
You shouldn’t believe everything that you read in the newspaper.
The house that we rented in London was fully furnished.
The food was definitely the thing which I enjoyed most about our holiday.

- Sometimes we use whom instead of who when the relative pronoun is the object:

Have you seen those people whom we met on holiday?

- When the relative pronoun is object of its clause we sometimes leave it out:

Have you seen those people we met on holiday?
You shouldn’t believe everything you read in the newspaper.
The house we rented in London was fully furnished.
The food was definitely the thing I enjoyed most about our holiday.

WARNING:
The relative pronoun is the object of the clause.
We do not repeat the object:

Have you seen those people who we met [them] on holiday?
The house that we rented [it] in London was fully furnished.
The food was definitely the thing I enjoyed [it] most about our holiday.

  • as object of a preposition. When the relative pronoun is the object of a preposition we usually put the preposition after the verb.:

You were talking to a woman >>> Who was the woman who you were talking to?
My parents live in that house >>> That’s the house that my parents live in.
You were talking about a book. I haven’t read it. >>> I haven’t read the book which you were talking about.

- When the relative pronoun is the object of a preposition we usually leave it out:

Who was the woman you were talking to?
That’s the house my parents live in.

- Sometimes we use whom instead of who:

Who was that woman whom you were talking about.

- When we use whom, which or whose the preposition sometimes comes at the beginning of the clause:

I haven’t read the book about which you were talking.

- We can use the possessive form, whose, in a relative clause:

I always forget that woman’s name >>> That’s the woman whose name I always forget.
I met a man whose brother works in Moscow.

3. Times and places

We also use when with times and where with places to make it clear which time or place we are talking about:

England won the world cup in 1996. It was the year when we got married.
I remember my twentieth birthday. It was the day when the tsunami happened.
Do you remember the place where we caught the train?
Stratford-upon-Avon is the town where Shakespeare was born.

... but we can leave out the word when:

England won the world cup in 1996. It was the year we got married.
I remember my twentieth birthday. It was the day the tsunami happened.

4. Giving additional information

 We use who, whom, whose, and which (but not that) in relative clauses to tell us more about a person or thing.

  • as subject (see Clauses, Sentences and Phrases)

My uncle, who was born in Hong Kong, lived most of his life overseas.
I have just read Orwell’s 1984, which is one of the most frightening books ever written.

WARNING:
The relative pronoun is the subject of the clause.
We do not repeat the subject:

My uncle, who [he] was born in Hong Kong, lived most of his life overseas.
I have just read Orwell’s 1984, which [it] is one of the most frightening books ever written.

  • as object (see Clauses, Sentences and Phrases)

We saw the latest Harry Potter film, which we really enjoyed.
My favourite actor is Marlon Brando, who I saw in “On the Waterfront”.

- we can use whom instead of who as object:

My favourite actor was Marlon Brando, whom I saw in “On the Waterfront”.

WARNING:
The relative pronoun is the object of the clause.
We do not repeat the object:

We saw the latest Harry Potter film, which we really enjoyed [it].
My favourite actor is Marlon Brando, who I saw [him] in “On the Waterfront”.

  • as object of a clause :

He finally met Paul McCartney, whom he had always admired.
We are going back to Venice, which we first visited thirty years ago.

We can also use who as the object.

He finally met Paul McCartney, who he had always admired.

WARNING:
The relative pronoun is the object of the clause.
We do not repeat the object:

He finally met Paul McCartney, whom he had always admired [him].
We are going back to Venice, which we first visited [it] thirty years ago.

  • as object of a preposition:

He decided to telephone Mrs. Jackson, who he had read about in the newspaper.
That’s the programme which we listened to last night.

- We sometimes use whom instead of who:

He decided to telephone Mrs. Jackson, whom he had read about in the newspaper.

- The preposition sometimes comes in front of the relative pronoun whom or which:

He decided to telephone Mrs. Jackson, about whom he had read in the newspaper.
That’s the programme to which we listened last night.

5.  Quantifiers and numbers with relative pronouns

 We often use quantifiers and numbers with relative pronouns:

many of whom - most of whom - one of which - none of whom
some of which - lots of whom - two of which - etc.

We can use them as subject, object or object of a preposition.

She has three brothers, two of whom are in the army.
I read three books last week, one of which I really enjoyed.
There were some good programmes on the radio, none of which I listened to.

6. Using  "which" to give more information

We often use the relative pronoun which to say something about a clause:

He was usually late, which always annoyed his father.
We’ve missed our train, which means we may be late.

 

Rearrange the parts to make sentences.

Match the sentence halves.

Comments

And what about this,
That's me who needs the money? Or
That's me who need the money? Or
That's I who need the money?

Could u explain which one is acceptable?

Thank you

Hello Risa warysha,

I think the correct sentence here would be as follows:

It's me who needs the money.

 

After 'who' we use a third-person form.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,
Is it correct if I write this sentence " Kate, with whose sister I used to share a house, has gone to australia" ?
Or should I write " Kate, whose sister I used to share a house with, has gone ...." ?

Thank you

Hi Risa warysha,

The second version is the correct one.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello!
Please, which of these examples is correct:
* This amount is all that I have on me.
* This amount is all what I have on me.
Do we have a relative clause in the above examples? Thank you.

Hi Fondow,

In the first sentence, 'that I have on me' is a defining relative clause modifying the quantifier 'all'.

In the second sentence, which to be grammatically correct needs to be changed to 'This amount is what I have on me', 'what I have on me' is a nominal relative clause. In other words, 'what' is simultaneously a noun and relative pronoun together in one word; it means 'the things which'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

hello,

please help me about this, what is the difference between a relative phrase and relative clause ? i have a presentation coming up titled "relative phrase and clause" and having a hard time searching for relative phrase note. i saw your note of (see clauses sentence and phrase) what does this mean if i may ask? If there any big difference between relative phrase and relative clause or is it just the same? any help from you will be very much appreciated.

can you check if what i come up with is correct :

relative phrase
1. the bewildered tourist who was lost
2. she who was upset when it didn't boil
3. a cheetah, which is the fastest land animal, can run 70miles an hour.
4. taking my dog, who love me a lot, for a walk is fun
5. before which test?
6. this is whose hat?

relative clause
1. The girl whom you saw yesterday is my sister
2. The man who left yesterday told me to come back today
3. The park that is next to our school is beautiful

thank you in advance. :)

Hello Nasuha281,

I'm not familiar with the term 'relative phrase'. All of your examples are relative clauses: subordinate clauses which modify nouns.

I would imagine that your presentation should focus on the two main types of relative clause (defining and non-defining), and on when the relative pronoun can be omitted in defining relative clauses.

You have one mistake in your examples. The fourth sentence should have the third-person form loves rather than love.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Please tell me both these sentences are correct or not. If one is correct then which one.
The sentences are: I will show them the interesting places.
I will show them interesting places.
With or without the definite article.
Thank you
Regards
Lal

Hi Lal,

They are both grammatically correct -- well done! The interesting places in the first one are places that you have already discussed with the person you are speaking to, whereas in the second one you haven't mentioned them yet.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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