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Learn All about Relative Pronouns with Examples

Learn All about Relative Pronouns with Examples

The relative pronouns, who, whom, whose, which, and that, are used to link the main clause and relative clause in a sentence. This Penlighten article will teach you the various relative pronouns in English as well as French, German, Spanish, and Italian.
Penlighten Staff
Quick Tip!
When using a relative pronoun before a non-defining clause, do not forget to use commas at the beginning and the end of the clause.
Most sentences in English language are made up of two clauses: main clause and relative clause. A relative pronoun is a type of pronoun that is used to introduce a relative clause in a sentence. It is mainly used to link the relative clause to the rest of the sentence. It is used for two main purposes.
The first thing is to clarify which person or thing is being talked about. For example, "The shoes that John is wearing are dirty." In this sentence, using 'that' after 'shoes' makes it clear that we are talking about the shoes. The second purpose of a relative pronoun is to tell us more about the subject. For example, "My mother, who is a doctor, is always busy." In this sentence, 'who' adds information about the subject.
There are, in all, five relative pronouns in the English Language. These are:
  • Who
  • Whom
  • Whose
  • Which
  • That
Let us now see the proper usage of relative pronouns in sentences.
USAGE OF RELATIVE PRONOUNS IN SENTENCES
» Education is a powerful weapon, which can be used to change the world.

» We know the girl, who is playing the lead role.

» They hired the woman, whom John had interviewed.

» I know the girl whose Dad is a business tycoon.

» I don't care whom you like or dislike.

» This is the dog that barks all night.

» I had never imagined that my book would be such a huge success.

» Kate, who is their eldest daughter, is also very beautiful.

» The guy, whom I met last week, is taking me out on a date.

» Kindness is the language, which the deaf can hear and blind can see.
RELATIVE PRONOUNS IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES
Relative Pronouns

IN ENGLISH IN FRENCH IN GERMAN IN SPANISH IN ITALIAN
who qui der que che
whom que die la quien cui
whose lequel den la quienes chi
which dont dem la cual quale
that das la que quali
- - denen donde -
- - deren - -
- - dessen - -
So, these were the various relative pronouns that are used in the English language. It can be a little confusing when to use 'which', and when to use 'that'. Here 's a quick tip: use 'which' for a non-restrictive clause and 'that' for a restrictive one.