Origin of relative pronoun
words often confused with relative pronoun
Words nearby relative pronoun
MORE ABOUT RELATIVE PRONOUN
What is a relative pronoun?
A relative pronoun is one of several pronouns and is used to introduce a dependent clause. The most common relative pronouns are who, whom, which, and that.
In grammar, a pronoun is a word that substitutes for a noun or a noun phrase, as when you use I to refer to yourself, as in I like studying grammar. A dependent clause contains a subject and a predicate but does not contain a complete thought and can’t be used by itself. It depends on another clause to make sense, as in which I like.
Relative pronouns often occur at the beginning of a dependent clause, as in I found a man who looks like Elvis. Who and whom are used to refer to people and sometimes animals with names, as in Shamu was a beloved whale who entertained millions.
Which is used to refer to things or animals, as in We boarded the bus, which was covered in stickers.
That is used to refer to people, animals, or things, as in She is the artist that painted the picture.
Why are relative pronouns important?
The first records of the term relative pronoun come from around 1520. It combines the words relative, meaning “something having a connection to something else,” and pronoun, meaning, “a word used to as a substitute for a noun or noun phrase.”
Relative pronouns help us connect a dependent clause to an independent one. For example, in Jill recycled the newspapers that she had read, the dependent clause that she had read refers to the newspapers, mentioned earlier in the sentence. That connects newspapers with more information about them. These are the newspapers Jill has read, not the ones she hasn’t read.
Did you know ... ?
Who replaces a person’s name when it is used as a subject or the pronouns I, you, he, she, we, and they. Whom replaces a person’s name when it is used as an object or the pronouns me, you, him, her, us, and them. However, people struggle with when to use who and whom and often just use who in all cases.
What are real-life examples of relative pronouns?
This chart lists some common relative pronouns and the kinds of words they refer to.
|Who||People and named animals|
|That||People, animals, or things|
We use relative pronouns all the time in English.
The relative pronouns (who, whom, which, and that) are either singular or plural, depending on the words they refer to.
— Marcelo Santos III (@akoposimarcelo) June 20, 2012
Helping my 9 year old with her homework. I don't remember learning about relative pronouns and relative clauses at primary school!
— Michael Dugher (@MichaelDugher) March 23, 2017
What other words are related to relative pronoun?
Which of the following is NOT a relative pronoun?
How to use relative pronoun in a sentence
But relative to centuries past, America is a marvel of domestic tranquility.No Gods, No Cops, No Masters|James Poulos|January 1, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Parents who want to transfer custody of a child to someone other than a relative must seek permission from a judge.Judge: Rehoming Kids Is Trafficking|Tina Traster|December 30, 2014|DAILY BEAST
While traveling this holiday season, a relative and I were pulled over by a police officer.Obama Is Right on Race. The Media Is Wrong.|Keli Goff|December 29, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Of course, this is The Comeback, and so "success" is a relative word.‘The Comeback’ Finale: Give Lisa Kudrow All of the Awards|Kevin Fallon|December 29, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Her son peeked out the window and told me his mother had left Havana for La Lisa to visit a dying relative.The Life and Hard Times Of The Family A Cuban Defector Left Behind|Brin-Jonathan Butler|December 19, 2014|DAILY BEAST
But I suppose, as he is my nearest relative, it is but natural he should be anxious about my health.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)|Charles James Wills
This had been quite genuine, for the Professor had been fond of his relative, who had always been very good to him.Uncanny Tales|Various
The relative quantity of labor embodied in each object is the basis of its value.The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice|Stephen Leacock
It is evident that an absolute increase of any variety may be accompanied by a relative decrease.
An increase in actual number is an absolute increase; an increase in percentage only, a relative increase.