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Relative clause

1. General Explanation

A relative clause is a subordinate clause that modifies a noun phrase, most commonly
a noun.

2.General Example

For example, the phrase "the man who wasn't there" contains the noun man, which is
modified by the relative clause who wasn't there. A relative clause can also modify a
pronoun, as in "he to whom I have written", or a noun phrase which already contains a
modifier, as in "the black panther in the tree, which is about to pounce". The complete
phrase (modified noun phrase plus modifying relative clause) is also a noun phrase.

3.Relative Pronoun

A relative pronoun is a pronoun that marks a relative clause within a larger sentence.
It is called a relative pronoun because it relates to the word that it modifies and is not
specific . In English, relative pronouns are who, whom, which, whose, and that.

A relative pronoun links two clauses into a single complex clause. It is similar in
function to a subordinating conjunction. Unlike a conjunction, however, a relative
pronoun stands in place of a noun. Compare:

(1) This is a house. Jack built this house.

(2) This is the house that Jack built.

Other arguments can be relativized using relative pronouns:

Subject: Hunter is the boy who kissed Monique.

Indirect object: Hunter is the boy to whom Monique gave a gift.
Ad-positional complement: Jack built the house in which I now live. (and similarly with
prepositions and prepositional phrases in general, eg These are the walls in between
which Jack ran.)
Possessor: Jack is the boy whose friend built my house.
In English, different pronouns are sometimes used if the antecedent is a human being,
as opposed to a non-human or an inanimate object (as in who/that).

(5) This is a bank. This bank accepted my identification.

(6) She is a bank teller. She helped us open an account.
With the relative pronouns, sentences (5) and (6) would read like this:

(7) This is the bank that accepted my identification.

(8) She is the bank teller who helped us open an account.
In sentences (7) and (8), the words that and who are the relative pronouns. The word
that is used because the bank is a thing; the word who is used because 'she' is a

Who : Subject/object pronoun for people

Which : Subject/object pronoun for animals/things

: Referring to a whole sentences

Whose : Possession for people, animals, and things

Whom : Object pronoun for people, especially in non defining relative clause (in
defining relative clauses)

That : Subject/object for everything

4. Relative Clauses for Persons (who, whom, whose, that) -> Subject + Object
+preposition + Possessive + quantifier

Functioning as the subject of the verb in a relative clause and is referring back to a
persons or people, the relative pronouns who or that are used.

Example :

Who : The man who close the door is my friend

Whom : The girl whom I stared at is very beautiful

Whose : The boy whose house near with the mall is my friend

That : The teacher that teach us is very friendly

5. Relative Clauses for Things (which, that) -> Subject + Object + w/ preposition +
Possessive + Quantifier

Functioning as the subject of a verb in a relative clause and refers back to a thing or

Example :
1) I’ve bought a new oven that comes on automatically

*As the object of a verb

1) On the dining wall was a photograph which my sister had taken

5. Relative Adverbs
The following adverbs can be used to join sentences or clauses. They replace the more
formal structure of preposition + which in a relative clause:

where, when, why

• That's the restaurant where we met for the first time.
(where = at/in which)
• I remember the day when we first met.
(when = on which)
• There was a very hot summer the year when he was born.
(when = in which)
• Tell me (the reason) why you were late home.
(why = for which, but could replace the whole phrase 'the reason for which')

6. Reducing The Relative Clauses

You can sometimes reduce a defining relative clause to create a more concise style.
You cannot reduce a non-defining clause.
■ Half of the training sessions (that are) arranged for the athletes have been
cancelled due to bad weather.
■ The foreigner (who/whom) you saw at the party last night is Giorgio Armani!
■ People who buy lottery tickets are often found at bingo
■ The students waiting for their funding from the government was disappointed
■ Those students who want to go to big white for snowboarding need to pay soon