What are relative clauses? They are subordinate adjective sentences that tell us something about a noun.Examples: This is the house that Jack built. Do you know the girl who is talking to Tom?
Let’s look at this example: This is the house that Jack built. Here, the house is the antecedent and that Jack built is the relative clause that defines it. Without the relative clause we wouldn’t know which house we’re talking about: That’s why it is a defining clause, we need it to fully understand the sentence. Defining relative clauses are not put in commas.
What’s a relative pronoun? A relative pronoun is the part of the clause which refers to the antecedent: This is the house that Jack built. In the example, that is the relative pronoun: This is the house. Jack built the house The relative pronoun always introduces the relative clause.
RELATIVE PRONOUNS: WHO We use who as the relative pronoun when the antecedent is a person or persons. e.g. 1.- A clown is a person who makes you laugh. 2.- You are the boy who I love. In example 1, who is the subject of the relative clause. In example 2, who is the object of the relative clause.
RELATIVE PRONOUNS: WHICH We use which as the relative pronoun when the antecedent is not a person. e.g. 1.- Peter took the book which was on your desk. 2.- Somebody found the puppy which you lost. In example 1, which is the subject of the relative clause. In example 2, which is the object of the relative clause.
RELATIVE PRONOUNS: THAT We can use THAT as the relative pronoun, instead of who or which, but only in defining relative clauses. e.g. 1.- A clown is a person that makes you laugh. 2.- Somebody found the puppy that you lost. 3.- Peter took the book that was on your desk. 4.- You are the boy that I love.
OMISSION OF THE RELATIVE PRONOUN The relative pronouns who, which and that in a defining relative clause can be omitted (that is, they are treated as understood) when they function as the object of a verb or the object of a preposition. They are never omitted when they function as the subject. e.g. Somebody found the puppy you lost. You are the boy I love.
OTHER RELATIVE PRONOUNS: WHOSE WHOSE is used for possession for people, animals and things. e.g. The boy whose bike you found is here. This sentence originates from these two: The boy is here. You found the boy’s (his) bike.
RELATIVE ADVERBS A relative adverb can be used instead of a relative pronoun plus preposition. This often makes the sentence easier to understand. This is the shop in which I bought my bike. → This is the shop where I bought my bike.
RELATIVE ADVERBS: WHERE AND WHEN We use WHERE instead of in/at/on which to refer to a place: e.g. In the town where I was born, lived a man who sailed to sea.(where=in which) We use WHEN instead of in/on/at which to refer to a time expression: e.g. It was raining the day when I got married. (when=on which)