Relative pronoun

From Teflpedia

A relative pronoun (/ˈrelətɪv ˈprəʊnaʊn/) is a pronoun that is used to repeat the meaning of a previously mentioned noun. At the same time, it connects a relative clause to the sentence, acting both as a conjunction and a pronoun.

The relative pronouns are all the wh- words, except what (which must be used instead) plus that. Some grammar analysis also recognises a zero relative pronoun.


Relative pronoun Used for Example(s) Notes
That all He is the man that I love. Can only be used with defining relative clauses and not non-defining relative clauses. May require the use of a preposition.
Zero relative pronoun all "He is the man [0] I love." In our example, the zero relative pronoun is represented by [0].
which things May require the use of a preposition.
who people Can be used in both subject- and object-defining relative clauses; in object-defining relative clauses whom is an alternative.
whom people "Obama is a man whom people look up to" Can only be used in an object-defining relative clause.
why reason
where place Warwick is where we got married.
when time
how manner Dancing is how we met.
whose possession Daniel, whose car was expensive, was very handsome.

Teaching myths[edit]

There is a commonly-held belief that whose can only be applied to people, not to things. This is not so, however, and in the words of the deceased H. W. Fowler: “Let us, in the name of common sense, prohibit the prohibition of whose inanimate; good writing is surely difficult enough without the forbidding of things that have historical grammar, and present intelligibility, and obvious convenience, on their side”.[1] Modern English Usage (1926)