1. Los relative pronouns
Relative pronouns introduce a sentence (relative clause) that gives us additional information about the person or thing we are talking about. They are also used to determine exactly the person or thing we are referring to.
2. What are relative clauses?
A relative clause is a subordinate sentence introduced by a relative pronoun (who, which...). There are two types of relative clauses:
They are subordinate sentences that give us essential information to identify who or what we are referring to.
They are subordinate sentences that give us additional information about the person or thing we are referring to. This information is not necessary to identify the subject of the sentence. It is separated by commas.
3. The different relative pronouns
There are different relative pronouns we can use to introduce both defining and non-defining relative clauses:
It is used when we are referring to people.Those who want to take part in the school play raise your hands.Michelangelo, who was both a painter and a sculptor, also write poems.
It is used when we are referring to things and animals.The cottage which we rented was lovely.This clock, which is from 1886, is worth $4,300.
We can replace who and which with the particle that, but only in defining relative clauses.
Defining NoN-defining The woman who/that is giving the lecture is from Sweden. That woman, who/ thatis from Sweden, is giving an interesting lecture. The letter which/that is on the table is for Adam. The letter, which/ thatis for Adam, is on the table.
It is used when we are referring to a possession.The man whose dog is a dalmatian is my teacher.This place, whose beach is gorgeous, is in Milos.
It is used when we are referring to a place.The box where the old toys are is in the garage.That library, where I used to go after school, is going to be restored.
It is used when we are referring to a period of time.I still remember the day when you proposed.The year 2010, when I went to study abroad, was the best of my life.
4. Omission of relative pronouns
- Relative pronouns can be omitted in spoken English or in informal writing when they are not the subject of the sentence, but the object.
CAN'T BE OMITTED CAN BE OMITTED The boy kissed Laura. He was handsome. Laura kissed a boy. He was handsome. The boy kissed Laura was handsome The boy who Laura kissed was handsome. The boy who kissed Laura was handsome. The boy (who) Laura kissed was handsome.
In the first case who cannot be omitted because the boy is the subject of the sentence, since he is the one who does the action. In the second case, we can omit the who because the boy is the object of the sentence, that is, he is not the one who does the action.
- The relative pronoun can only be omitted with defining relative clauses.
The socks (which/that) they are wearing are super cute.This is the girl (who/that) I met at the summer camp.
|Who / that||people||The lawyer who/that is handling the case is very good.|
|Which / that||things||The sweater which/that I'm wearing is handmade.|
|Whose||possessions||That's the woman whose photos are on display at the Dyson Gallery.|
|Where||places||The theatre where we performed was very old.|
|When||time||Do you remember the night when the accident happened?|