Relative Pronouns

Relative Pronouns

Relative Pronouns:

Relative Pronouns

What are Relative Pronouns?

Relative Pronouns are used to join a clause or phrase to a noun or pronoun (antecedent) in the previous clause. The Relative Pronoun introduces the relative clause and can be a subject or an object of the verb or the object of a preposition.

 

Relative Pronouns List:

Relative Pronoun Used for Relative Pronoun Examples
Who Used for People 

Refers to Subject or Object

Snehith who sent you the gift is my son.

Do you know Snehith who sent you the gift?

Whom Used for People 

Refers to Object

The lady whom we talked about is an IAS officer.
Whose Used for People and Animals

Refers to Possession

This is the man whose money was lost in stocks.
Which Used for Things and Animals

Refers to Subject or Object

My son bought a Tesla which is his favourite car.
What Used for Things

Refers to Subject or Object

He follows what he says.
That Used for People, Animals, and Things

Refers to Subject or Object

This is the situation that I expected. 
Where Used in place of at which Refers to places I know a place where we can hide this horse.
When Used in place of on which Refer to time There will be a day when you realise everything.
Why Used in place of for which Refer to reason I don’t know the reason why you have insulted him.

Functions of the Relative pronoun:

Within the Relative (Subordinate) Clause, the Relative Pronouns may work as Subject of the verb, Object of the verb, or Object of a Preposition.

 

Relative Pronoun as a Subject: When the verb is used right after a Relative Pronoun in a sentence, it is called the Subject.

Examples:

  • The man who helped Covid patients got rewarded. (The man helped Covid patients.  ‘The man’ is the subject.) 
  • This is the website that helped several students. (The website helped several students. ‘The website’ is the subject.)
  • Don’t go in bad weather which is unsafe for you. (‘The weather is unsafe for you. ‘The weather is the subject.)

 

Relative Pronoun as an Object: When there is no verb right after a Relative Pronoun in a sentence, it is called the Object. We use any noun or pronoun immediately after the Relative Pronoun.

Examples:

  • I saw a girl whom I met in Bangalore. (I met a girl in Bangalore. “A girl is an object)
  • This is the lappy which my brother gave as a gift. (My brother gave the lappy as a gift. ‘The lappy is the object.)
  • The student, whom we helped, has helped many others. (We helped the student. ‘The student is the object)

 

Relative Pronoun as an Object of a Preposition:

Examples:

  • This is the office in which I work.
  • The reason, for which you have come here, has not been disclosed.
  • This is the teacher to whom I submit the project.
  • The passengers, with whom I should travel, are still coming.

The Relative Pronoun works as a Pronoun as well as a Conjunction.

Examples:

  • I met Mr. Reddy who taught us English. 

 

Here, the Relative Pronoun ‘who’ acts as a pronoun as it has replaced a noun ‘Mr. Reddy’ and also acts as a conjunction as it joins two clauses ‘I met Mr. Reddy’ and ‘taught us English.’ 

Uses of the Relative Pronouns:

The use of Who:

It is used

  • for people.
  • sometimes for pet animals.
  • as the Subject (Nominative Case).
  • for Masculine or Feminine Gender.
  • for both Singular and Plural.

Examples:

  • These are the players who received the trophy.
  • The players who played by fair means did not win the trophy.
  • The girls who teased the boy got rusticated.
  • The principal saw the girls who teased the boy.
  • Aswini, who participated in a mega marathon event, won the gold medal.
  • This is the lady who received the gold medal.
  • This is the man who helped many Covid patients.
  • Don’t believe a person who says one thing now and the other thing later.

 

The use of Whom:

It is used

  • for people.
  • as the Object (Accusative Case).
  • for Masculine or Feminine Gender.
  • for both Singular and Plural.

Examples:

  • These are the people whom we should not allow into the campus.
  • The boy whom we helped is in London now.
  • Mr. Reddy whom we met yesterday is our master.
  • The response of the principal whom I have met is good. 
  • This is the student whom we appreciated earlier.

 

Whom with a Preposition:

Examples:

  • There are ten new employees to whom I sent the appointment letters.
  • Spoken English classes are good for the students for whom English is a second language.
  • I have many trusted friends with whom I share everything.

 

The use of Whose:

It is used

  • for people and animals and must be followed by a noun.
  • as the Possessive (Genitive Case).
  • to replace the possessive expressions (my, your, his, her, its, our, their)
  • for Masculine or Feminine Gender.
  • for both Singular and Plural.

Examples:

  • The government needs to help the children whose parents have died of Covid19.
  • We have issued hall tickets to all the students whose payment is clear.
  • I know many lovers whose love is not successful.
  • We spoke to Hrithik whose ambition is to become an IAS officer.
  • The man whose bike was missing gave a complaint.

 

The use of Which:

It is used

  • for animals and things
  • as the Subject or Object (Nominative or Accusative Case).
  • for both Singular and Plural.

Examples:

  • How can you join a school which is far away from here?
  • I need to attend a party which is going to be arranged by my friend.
  • There are several animals which are without food. 

 

  • The school which you have chosen is really good.
  • The new dog which I bought yesterday is so cute.
  • There are several paintings which have been done by my son.

 

The use of What:

It is used

  • only for things without an antecedent
  • only for Singular.
  • as the Subject or Object (Nominative or Accusative Case).
  • Its antecedent is not expressed directly.
  • It does not refer to a noun that comes before it.
  • ‘What’ means ‘that which’ or ‘the things which.’

Examples:

  • What seems difficult may not be difficult. (Used as a Subject)
  • What is easy to speak seems hard sometimes. (Used as a Subject)
  • What was shown as real might be magic. (Used as a Subject)
  • What may be said as critical is actually easy. (Used as a Subject)
  • What cannot be created must not be destroyed. (Used as a Subject)

 

  • What you do may be useful to others. (Used as an Object)
  • I can always get what I desire. (Used as an Object)
  • Give him only what he requires. (Used as an Object)
  • Just contribute what you can. (Used as an Object)
  • Nobody knows what he will become in the future. (Used as an Object)

 

Note:

What Vs. That:

When there is an antecedent, we generally use ‘that’ in place of ‘what’.

  • The gift what you gave me is really valuable. (Incorrect)

(Here, the use of ‘what’ is wrong because there is an antecedent ‘gift’.)

  • The gift that you gave me is really valuable. (correct)

 

What Vs. Which:

What is used in general when there are many options and which is used for specific things when there are limited options.

Examples:

  • What do you select out of those 100 cars?
  • Which do you select from those two cars?

 

The use of That:

It is used

  • for people, animals and things
  • as the Subject or Object (Nominative or Accusative Case).
  • for both Singular and Plural.
  • We use ‘that’ instead of who, whom or which.

Examples:

  • The book that is damaged has been returned. (Used as the Subject)
  • My bike that is parked outside is missing. (Used as the Subject)
  • There are so many vehicles that are seized by the financiers. (Used as the Subject)
  • She has bought mangoes that are very sweet. (Used as the Subject)

 

  • This is the book that I referred to you. (Used as the Object)
  • The city that I prefer to visit is Kashmir. (Used as the Object)
  • This is the man that I have spoken of. (Used as the Object)
  • The activities that you prepared are really excellent. (Used as the Object)

 

‘That’ is used after Superlative Adjectives:

Examples:

  • This is the best decision that you have ever taken.
  • Terminator is one of the best movies that I have ever seen.

‘That’ is used after some words like all, any, anybody, anything, none, no one, nobody, nothing, same, somebody, something.

Examples:

  • There is nothing that I consider about it.
  • All the work that you have done is of no use.
  • Is there anybody that I can interview?
  • All that seems good may not be good.
  • There is something in this painting that impressed me.

 

‘That’ is used after Interrogative Pronouns – Who and What.

Examples:

  • Who is the person that I must meet?
  • What are your instructions that I need to follow?

 

‘That’ is used instead of ‘who’ or ‘which’ after two antecedents, one denoting a person and the other denoting an animal or a thing:

Examples:

  • Both the man and his car that are missing are found in a canal.
  • The police and their hounds that went into the jungle returned with a criminal.

 

Use of Where, When and Why

Where: Used in place of at which, referring to places.

  • I know a place where we can hide this horse.
  • Our friend has a home theatre where we can watch this movie

 

When: Used in place of on which, referring to time.

  • There will be a day when you realise everything.

 

Why: Used in place of for which, referring to reason.

  • I don’t know the reason why you have insulted him.

 

The use of As and But:

As is used as a relative pronoun after ‘such’ and ‘same’.

Examples:

  • I never had such a time as today.
  • I just don’t want to face the same problem as this.
  • Her problem is the same as yours.
  • You can do the same as I do.

But is used after a negative, in the sense of who……not or which……not.

Examples:

  • There is no student but will attend the classes. (That means there is no student who will not attend the classes)
  • There is no problem but has a solution. (Means – there is no problem which does not have a solution)
  • There is scarcely a teacher but knows these basic things. (That means there is no (scarcely any) teacher who doesn’t know these basic things)
  • There is no employee but supports me. (Means – there is no employee who doesn’t support me)

Compound Relative Pronouns:

A Pronoun that is formed by adding a suffix like ‘ever’, ‘soever’ is called a Compound Pronoun. We use the suffix ‘-ever’ and ‘-soever’  for emphasis or to show surprise. 

We use compound Relative Pronouns without an antecedent because they contain antecedents within them. 

 

The Compound Relative Pronouns are: Whoever (Whosoever), Whomever (Whomsoever), Whichever (Whichsoever), Whatever (Whatsoever)

Examples:

  • I will speak to whoever wants to speak to me.
  • Whoever comes to the office, inform them about this.
  • You can go with whomever you like.
  • Whatever happens, let it happen.
  • You can invite whomever you want.
  • Whatever I suggest, he happily accepts.
  • You can take whichever you prefer.
  • Whichever of the jobs you accept, that will be fine.
  • You can do whatever you want.

Relative Pronouns Exercises:

Fill the blanks with suitable Relative Pronouns:

  1. We always like the people — speak the truth. 
  2. There was an elephant  — is very small.
  3. The students — books are lost did not come to school.
  4. She went to Karnataka — is her birthplace. 
  5. I have seen the bike —– looks like yours
  6. I did not find the teacher — punished the boy. 
  7. Here is the bike — I have recently lost. 
  8. I hopefully get — I deserve. 
  9. Time — is lost, is lost forever. 
  10. I already know the person — you called. 
  11. Here is a book — you can read. 
  12. Can you show me the road —— leads to the chowrasta?
  13. The parcel — you sent did not arrive. 
  14. Carefully listen to — she says. 
  15. Did you open the email — I sent you? 
  16. — I have said is final. 
  17. Do you expect — will happen?
  18. These are the students —– names are on the notice board.

 

Answers:

  1. Who, 2. Which, 3. Whose, 4. Which, 5. Which, 6. Who, 7. Which, 8. What, 9. Which, 10. Whom, 11. That, 12. That, 13. Which, 14. What, 15. That, 16. What, 17. What, 18. Whose 

 

Relative Pronoun Quiz 1

Relative Pronoun Quiz 2

 

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