Relative Pronoun

A relative pronoun is a pronoun that marks a relative clause within a larger sentence. It is called a relative pronoun because it relates the relative (and hence subordinate) clause to the noun that it modifies. A relative pronoun links two clauses into a single complex clause. In English, the relative pronouns are: who, whom, whose, whoever, whosoever, whomever, which, what, whatever, and that. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relative_pronoun).

A relative pronoun introduces a relative clause which is a type of dependent clause. It refers to a noun mentioned before.

Note:

  • If you want to learn the application of relative pronoun in adjective clause, just come to this link.
  • In the examples below, the parts which are highlighted in yellow are the adjective clause

1. WHO

Who substitutes noun or pronoun for human in subject position.

Examples:

  • Maria who moved to this school six months ago is the smartest student in this class.
  • Regia who is a writer has published her first book.

Who in the sentences above refers to Maria and Regia (human) which function as subject.

2. WHOM

Whom substitutes noun or pronoun for human in object position (object of a verb or a preposition).

Examples:

The new manager whom we will have dinner with tonight is very friendly.
He is now waiting for the girl whom he met in the station yesterday.

Whom in the sentences above substitutes the object of preposition with (sentence 1) and verb met (sentence 2) and refers to The new manager (sentence 1) and the girl (sentence 2).

3. THAT

That substitutes noun or pronoun for human, animal and thing in subject or object position (object of a verb or a preposition).

Examples:

  • The TV presenter that is conducting my favorite program now looks very charming.
  • Dad is eating some seafood that was cooked by my beautiful mom.
  • Regia that many people love very much is a kind-hearted girl.
  • Sunflower that Regia loves looks very beautiful at noon.

That in the sentences above substitutes the subject (sentence 1 and 2) and object (sentence 3 and 4) and refers to the TV presenter (sentence 1), seafood (sentence 2), Regia (sentence 3) and sunflower (sentence 4).

4. WHICH

Which substitutes noun or pronoun for animal and thing in subject or object position (object of a verb or a preposition).

Examples:

  • Regia is happy to hear the news which is about her brother’s coming next month.
  • The dog which the man found on the way home yesterday is eating greedily.

Which in the sentences above substitutes the subject (sentence 1) and object (sentence 2) and refers to the news (sentence 1) and the dog (sentence 2).

5. WHOSE

Whose substitutes possessive form of a noun or a pronoun which can refer to human, animal or thing and can be part of a subject or an object of a verb or a preposition; yet it cannot be a complete subject or object.

Examples:

  •  They are looking for a missing little boy whose hair is blonde.
  • Regia is cooking some vegetables whose colors are green.
  • The cat whose appearance I don’t like is fierce.

Whose in the sentences above substitutes his (sentence 1, it’s a part of the subject), their (sentence 2, it’s a part the subject) and its (sentence 3, it’s a part of the object) which functions as the possessive form and refers to a missing little boy (sentence 1), some vegetables (sentence 2) and the cat (sentence 3).

6. WHOMEVER

Use whomever when a sentence requires an object pronoun (object of a verb or preposition).

Examples:

  • The staff whomever the boss asks must represent the company in that exhibition.
  • The participants whomever the show host requests should come quickly to the arena.

In the sentences above, whomever relates back to noun the staff and the participants and are the objects of the dependent clause and the verbs must represent and requests.

7. WHOEVER

As a relative pronoun whoever starts a relative clause. You can use whoever when a sentence needs a subject pronoun.

Examples:

  1. Any student whoever didn’t join the competition had to be the audience.
  2. Everybody here whoever loves him will be sad to see him go.

In the sentences above, whoever relates back to noun any student and everybody which are the subjects of the dependent clause and the verbs didn’t join and loves.

8. WHOSOEVER

Actually whosoever is the formal term or the old use for whoever. Then about its application you can refer to whoever (see point 7 above)

9. WHAT and WHATEVER

As a relative pronoun what and whatever start a relative clause which function as a subject or an object.

Examples:

  1. You can ask him whatever you want.
  2. They told me what they saw last night.

In relation to the use of relative pronoun in adjective clause, if you want to see some more pronouns such as of which, when, and where, you can go to this link and see point D.

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