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Relative Pronouns Vs Relative Adverbs

..in brief           

Realative Pronouns

These relatives refer either to persons or things regardless of what they are: singular, plural, masculine or feminine.
  1. For Persons
    • Nominative:   who   -   that (less formal)
           The man who will live next to you is called Mr. Smith.
           The boys who are playing with your children are his.

    • Accusative:   whom   -   who   -   that
           The man whom your son is talking to is your new neighbour.
           The man who your son is talking to is your new neighbour.
           The man that your son is talking to is your new neighbour.
           The man your son is talking to is your new neighbour.

           The boys whom your son invited are Mr. Smith's sons.
           The boys that your son invited are Mr. Smith's sons.
           The boys that your son invited are Mr. Smith's sons.
           The boys your son invited are Mr. Smith's sons.

    • Possessive:   whose
           The man whose children are making such a deafening noise is Mr. Smith.


  2. For things
    • Nominative:   which   -   that (less formal)
           Here is the book which Mr. Smith gave me.
           All the roads that lead downtown are useless. ('that' is always used after 'all')

    • Accusative:   which   -   that
           The film which you want to see is on at the Royal Cinema.
           The watch that I bought yesterday was stolen from me.

    • Possessive:   whose
           The cars whose engines are electro-mechanic are expensive. (possible)
           The cars with electro-mechanic engines are expensive. (the best)
N.B. : There are two types of relative clauses: Defining and Non-defining relative clauses. It is important to know that defining relative clauses are written without commas, whereas the non-defining relative clauses are written with commas.

Examples

  1. My daughter who lives in Paris is a University Professor.
  2. My daughter, who lives in Paris, is an eminent doctor.
     The commas in example two make a lot of difference. Their use implies that the speaker has got only one daughter whereas the speaker in the first example didn't use the commas to imply that the university professor is not her only daughter. She has got others who live elsewhere and do different jobs. The commas mean that the clause is only additional to emphasize the idea.   More details >>

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Relative Adverbs

These relatives are used essentially to replace a preposition + the relative pronoun 'which'.
  1. When   =   on / in which
    •      Wednesday is the day on which I was born.
    •      Wednesday is the day when I was born.

    •      2003 was the year in which my mother died.
    •      2003 was the year when my mother died.

  2. Where   =   in which
    •      The house in which they live is modern.
    •      The house where they live is modern.

    •      The country in which we last spent our holiday is cold.
    •      The country where we last spent our holiday is cold.

  3. Why   =   for which
    •      This is the reason for which I invited you to read this page.
    •      This is the reason why I invited you to read this page.
Start Over
Have you understood yet?


          Click the appropriate answer between parentheses in each sentence:
  1. This is the house (which / where) my grandmother was born.

  2. This is the house (which / where) my great-grandfather bought in 1889.

  3. Harry is the gardener (whom / whose) Mr. Smith hired to plant those trees.

  4. The reason (which / why) he did that is incomprehensible to me.

  5. The dog (whose / whom) teeth broke in the accident was operated.

  6. All the people (who / that) know him were extremely sorry.

  7. Is there a place in this town (where / which) we can have lunch?

  8. I didn't see the boy (whom / whose) that woman is looking for.

  9. Nobody has met the boy (whom / whose) mother is looking for.

  10. I wish you had understood all the things (which / that) are written at the top of this page.
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Wh- words quiz!
Who - who's - whose - whom - which -

Restrictive & Non-restrictive Clauses