Cases Where Relative Pronouns Are Omitted

Relative pronouns are words like that, who, which, whom, whose, where, when and why.

The most common relative pronouns in English are who, whom, whose, that and which. In certain situations the words what, when and where can also function as relative pronouns.

Relative pronouns introduce relative clauses. A relative clause is a type of adjective clause used to modify a word or phrase in the main clause. The word or phrase thus modified by the relative clause is called its antecedent.

Here the relative clause that Julie bought modifies the noun dress. Therefore the word dress is the antecedent of the relative clause.

We have already learned that the relative pronoun may be omitted when it acts as the object of the relative clause.

After nouns referring to place, we can use where instead of preposition + which.

After nouns referring to time, we can use when instead of preposition + which.

The word whom is not used very often. It is almost always omitted while speaking. In a less formal style, people sometimes use who instead of whom.

Note that whom cannot be omitted when it is preceded by a preposition because in this case whom acts as the object of the preposition.