The Relative Pronoun

Posted: June 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

A clause is a group of words containing a subject and a verb.

An independent clause is a complete sentence. It contains the main subject and verb of a sentences. It is also called a main clause.

A dependent clause is not a complete sentence. It must be connected to an independent clause.

An adjective clause is a dependent clause that modifies a noun. It describes, identifies, or gives further information about a noun. An adjective clause is also called a relative clause.

A.    Using Subject Pronouns : WHO, WHICH, THAT

Example : – I thanked the woman.

–          She helped me.

(a)    I thanked the woman who helped me.

(b)   I thanked the woman that helped me.

Example : – The book is mine.

–          It is on the table.

(c)    The book which is on the table is mine.

(d)   The book that is on the table is mine.

In (a) : I thanked the woman = an independent clause.

                who helped me = an adjective clause.

The adjective clause modifies the noun woman.

In (a) : who is the subject of the adjective clause.

In (b) : that is the subject of the adjective clause.

Note : (a) and (b) have the same meaning.

Who = used for people.

Which = used for things.

That = used for both people and things.

 

B.     Using Subject Pronouns : WHOM, WHICH, THAT

Example : – The man was Mr. Jones.

–          I saw him.

(e)    The man who(m) I saw was Mr. Jones.

(f)    The man that I saw was Mr. Jones.

(g)   The man Ø I saw was Mr. Jones.

 
   

 

Example : – The movie wasn’t very good.

–          We saw it last night.

(h)   The movie which we saw last night wasn’t very good.

(i)     The movie that we saw last night wasn’t very good.

(j)     The movie Ø we saw last night wasn’t very good.

Notice in the examples : the adjective clause pronouns are placed at the beginning of the clause.

In (e) : who is usually used instead of whom, especially in speaking. Whom is generally used only in very formal English.

In (g) and (j) : an object pronoun is often omitted from an adjective clause. ( a subject pronoun, however, may not be omitted).

Who(m) = used for people.

Which = used for things.

That = used for both people and things.

 

C.     Using Subject Pronouns : WHOSE

Example : – I know the man.

–          His bicycle was stolen.

(k)   I know the man whose bicycle was stolen.

Example : – The student writes well.

–          I read her composition.

(l)     The student whose composition I read writes well.

Whose is used to show possession. It carries the same meaning as other possessive pronouns used as adjectives : his, her, its and their. Like his, her, its and their, whose is connected to a noun.

his bicycle à whose bicycle.

her composition à whose composition.

Both whose and the noun it is connected to are placed at the beginning of the adjective clause. Whose cannot be omitted.

Mr. Catt has a painting. Its value is inestimable.

(m) Mr. Catt a painting whose value is inestimable.

Whose usually modifies “people” but it may also be used to modify “things” as in (m).

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