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Relative Pronouns and Relative Clauses

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Aileen Hsu

on 18 February 2015

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Transcript of Relative Pronouns and Relative Clauses

Relative Pronouns and Relative Clauses
What is a Relative Pronoun?
A relative pronoun is a pronoun that introduces a relative clause. It is called a "relative" pronoun because it "relates" to the word that its relative clause modifies.
Examples of Relative Pronouns in Restrictive Relative Clauses
Special Rules of Relative Pronouns
Relative Pronouns in Non-restrictive relative clauses
Non-restrictive relative clauses (Non-defining relative clauses)
provide information not essential to the meaning of the subject in the sentence.

Which
is used to indicate the relative clause is non-restrictive. The non-restrictive relative clause is also set off by commas.

Relative Pronouns in Restrictive Relative Clauses
Restrictive relative clauses (defining clauses)
Add essential information about the antecedent or subject, in the sentence.
Aileen Hsu, Jennifer Xie, Allen Liu
Example
The person
who
phoned me last night is my teacher.
The professor,
whom
I respect, recently received tenure.
As a subject
As an object
As a possessive
This is the house
that
had a great Christmas decoration.

Give it a shot!
It took me a while to get used to people who eat popcorn during the movie.
The family
whose
house burnt in the fire was immediately given a complimentary suite in a hotel.

Give it a shot!
The book whose author won a Pulitzer has become a bestseller.
Relative pronoun may be omitted in informal English but is included in formal English.

F: The library did not have the book
that
I wanted.
IF: The library didn't have the book I wanted.
A Note About
whom
When the relative pronoun is the object of a preposition,
which
is used instead of
that
.

F: This is the house
in which

(where/that)
I lived when I first came to the United States.
IF: This is the house I lived in when I first came to the United States.
Whom
is more formal than
who
and is often removed when speaking.

F: The woman
whom
you have just spoken to is my teacher.
IF: The woman you have just spoken to is my teacher.
OR
The woman
who
you have just spoken to is my teacher.
Examples of Relative Pronouns in Non-Restrictive Relative Clauses
As a subject
As an object
The science fair,
which
lasted all day, ended with an awards ceremony.

Give it a shot!
The movie turned out to be a blockbuster hit, which came as a surprise to critics.
The sculpture,
which he admired
, was moved into the basement of the museum to make room for a new exhibit.

Give it a shot!
The theater, in which the play debuted, housed 300 people.
Rules about
that
That
is
always
restrictive.

It can replace
who
(when referring to people) or
which
(referring to things) in IF English.

Who
and
which
are more commonly used in formal writing.
Other Examples:

This is the house
where
I grew up.
This is the house
that
I grew up in.
Incorrect: This is the house
in that
I grew up. (Because which must used after a preposition.)
Example
IF: Lucy is the girl
that
has purple hair.
F: Lucy is the girl
who
has purple hair.
Subject or object?
IF: The book
that
we were supposed to read is no longer sold in stores.
F: The book
which
we were supposed to read is no longer sold in stores.
Subject or object?
F: He is the kind of person
who
will never give up, even when he should.
IF: He is the kind of person
that
will never give up, even when he should
Both
that
and
who
can be used when referring to people. However,
who
is preferred for formal English. It can be used to refer to the qualities of a certain person or certain people.
That vs. Which
In some cases, it's better to use that instead of which.
After certain pronouns:
After a modified noun:
After these pronouns, it's better to use
that
:

All, any, anything, every, everything, few, little, many, much, no, nothing, none, some, something.

The police try to drag
every
scrap of information
that
could affect the trial out of the witnesses.

Purpose is
all that
he wants.
It's also better to use
that
after a noun has been modified by an adjective to create a hyperbole.

This is the best dress
that
I've ever had the luck to puke on.

This is the best book
that
I've ever been able to read.
Sources:

The Purdue OWL Family of Sites.
The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008. Web. 23 Apr. 2008.
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