Unit 10.2

Omission of Relative Pronouns


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Introduction

Relative pronouns are used to introduce relative clauses. They refer to people or things and they replace the subject expressed in the main clause, to avoid the repetition of it in the relative clause.

The relative pronouns can be omitted when they are not the subject of the clause.

Form

The omission of relative pronouns is an ellipsis, so it does not follow a general formation rule, but we often omit them after the object.

NOTE: We omit relative pronouns only if they are not the subject of the clause.

Example

  • An ambulance came to take the climber (whom) I helped.
  • The hunter (who) my sister saw in the woods was caught by the police.
  • The train (which) she was about to take was late.
  • This is the terminal (that) I told you about.
  • That’s the seat (which) my ticket has written on it.

Use

We omit relative pronouns, or use that, only in informal speech, in order to communicate faster.

Summary

We can omit relative pronouns when they are not the subject of the clause (without affecting the structure or meaning of the sentence).

When we omit the relative pronoun we can use that in informal speech.

For example:
“This is the dress (that) I bought yesterday.” = Since that doesn’t change the meaning or structure of the sentence, we can omit it.

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

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