Grammar

Relative Pronouns in English with Examples, List, and Usage

Relative Pronouns in English with Examples, List, and Usage

Relative pronouns are important words in grammar. They help connect two parts of a sentence. You might know some of them like “who,” “which,” and “that.” They point to the thing or person you’re talking about. Relative pronoun examples include, “The cat that ran away is mine.” Here, “that” points to the cat. These words make sentences clearer by giving more information about something. They’re like little helpers that join ideas together. Understanding them helps make sentences make more sense. So, knowing how to use them can make your writing better and easier to understand.

Relative Pronouns in English with Examples, List and Usage

Relative Pronouns in English with Examples, List, and Usage

What are Relative Pronouns?

Relative pronouns are a type of pronoun used to introduce relative clauses, which provide additional information about a noun in the main clause of a sentence. Relative pronouns connect a dependent clause (the relative clause) to the noun or pronoun it modifies in the main clause.

Examples:

  • The person who called me is my friend.
  • To whom did you give the book?
  • The car that is parked outside is mine.

Types of Relative Pronouns:

  • Subject Relative Pronouns
  • Object Relative Pronouns
  • Possessive Relative Pronouns
  • Zero Relative Pronouns

Subject Relative Pronouns:
These serve as the subject of the relative clause. They are used when the relative clause describes the subject of the main clause.

Examples:

  • who
  • which
  • that

Object Relative Pronouns:
These relative pronouns serve as the object of the relative clause. They are used when the relative clause describes the object of the main clause.

Examples:

  • whom
  • which
  • that

Possessive Relative Pronouns:
These relative pronouns indicate possession or ownership within the relative clause. The most common possessive relative pronoun is “whose.”

Examples:

  • He found a dog whose tail was wagging.
  • I have a friend whose car is spotless.
  • She met a woman whose daughter is an artist.

Zero Relative Pronouns:
In some cases, especially in informal English or in restrictive relative clauses, the relative pronoun can be omitted altogether, leaving a gap or “zero” relative pronoun. The role of these is understood from the context.

Examples:

  • The house Jack built is very old.
  • The car she drives is red.
  • The dog chased the cat.

Common Relative Pronouns List:

  • Who: Refers to people.
  • Whom: Also refers to people, usually used in formal contexts or after prepositions.
  • Which: Refers to animals or things.
  • That: Refers to people, animals, or things.
  • Whose: Indicates possession and can refer to people, animals, or things.
  • What: Refers to things or situations, often used in place of “that which” or “the thing(s) which.”
  • Where: Refers to a place or location.
  • When: Refers to a time or period.
  • Why: Refers to a reason or cause.
  • Whoever: Refers to any person, usually used when the specific person is unknown or not stated.
  • Whomever: Refers to any person, usually used in formal contexts or after prepositions when the specific person is unknown or not stated.
  • Whichsoever: Indicates any of a specified type of thing or things.
  • Whatsoever: Indicates any of a specified type of thing or things.
  • Whomsoever: Indicates any specific time or period.
  • Wherever: Indicates any specific place or location.
  • However: Refers to any specific manner or way.
  • Whatever: Refers to any specific thing or things.
  • Whichever: Refers to any specific choice or option among several.
  • The one(s) that: Used to specify one or more particular things or people.
  • The one(s) who: Used to specify one or more particular people.

Relative Pronoun Examples:

  • Who ate my sandwich?
  • The house which Jack built is very old.
  • I know a person who can help us.
  • The book that you recommended was fantastic.
  • She is the one whose dog ran away.
  • Tell me what you want for dinner.
  • The place where we met is now a coffee shop.
  • Do you remember the time when we went hiking?
  • That’s the reason why I couldn’t come to the party.
  • Whoever wins the race gets a trophy.

Relative Pronoun Exercise:

1. Identify the relative pronoun in the following sentence: “The girl who won the competition received a trophy.”
a) girl
b) won
c) who
d) competition
2. Which relative pronoun correctly completes the sentence: “This is the house ________ Jack built.”
a) which
b) where
c) that
d) whom
3. Select the sentence with the correct relative pronoun usage:
a) “The book whom I borrowed is overdue.”
b) “The book that I borrowed is overdue.”
c) “The book which I borrowed is overdue.”
d) “The book who I borrowed is overdue.”
4. In the sentence, “I don’t know ____________ she went,” which relative pronoun correctly fills in the blank?
a) what
b) which
c) who
d) where
5. Which relative pronoun indicates possession?
a) where
b) that
c) whose
d) who

Answers:

  1. c) who
  2. c) that
  3. b) “The book that I borrowed is overdue.”
  4. a) what
  5. c) whose

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