Pronouns: Relative – People and Things*

Pronouns

Pronouns are words used to avoid repetitions of a noun. We distinguish pronouns depending on number (singular, plural) and gender (masculine, feminine, neutral).

Relative Pronouns are used to introduce relative clauses. They refer to people or things by replacing the subject expressed in the main clause to avoid the repetition of it in the relative clause.

{See Pronouns – Relative, A1 level}

Relative Pronouns are used before nouns (people or things).

RELATIVE PRONOUN  PEOPLE THINGS
which x
that
who x
whom  √ x
whose  √ x

Which

  • This is the palace which I visited last year.
  • It’s the watch which my sister gave me for my birthday.
  • The sculptures, which they liked, were made in Madrid.

That

  • It was the boy that stole my wallet.
  • The statue, that my friend made, is beautiful.
  • They couldn’t find the book that they were looking for.

Who

  • My sister, who is very stylish, wants to be a hairdresser.
  • His friends, who work at the travel agency, will book our tickets.
  • This is the woman who helped us with the translations.

Whom

  • I called the salesman from whom I bought this watch.
  • This is the woman to whom I wanted to speak
  • The people, for whom they were waiting, have arrived.

Whose

  • Helen, whose father is a baker, lives in an industrial city.
  • This is the painter whose statue is in the main square of the city.
  • This is my cousin whose clothes shop has the most expensive clothes.

Relative Pronouns refer to people or to things, to identify them and to add information about them. We use:

  • Which (to refer to a thing or an idea, asking about choices);
  • That (to refer to both a person and a thing/idea);
  • Who (to refer to people or when we want to know the person);
  • Whom (to ask which person receives an action);
  • Whose (to find out which person something belongs to).

We use Relative Pronouns to introduce relative clauses. They refer to people or things by replacing the subject expressed in the main clause to avoid the repetition of it in the relative clause.

In addition to the three Relative Pronouns studied at A1, there exists two more: Whom and whose. These two pronouns both refer to people.

For example:
— “He told me that he didn’t have time to study, which I knew wasn’t true.” = Which (things, animals, an entire sentence).
— “The man that gave us the tickets was wearing a black t-shirt.” = That (person, thing, animal) can replace who or which when the relative clause is non-defining.
— “I am dating the girl whom I met at the bar.” = Whom (person – when not the subject).

Let’s revise this content within the [Form] section. Take a look at the [Example] section that shows its use within a context.