Relative Clauses

Adjective clauses that begin with one of the relative pronouns (e.g. who, whom, whose, which and that) are also called relative clauses. Relative clauses are used to modify nouns and some pronouns – to identify people and things, or to give more information about them.

Relative clauses can also be introduced by that.

Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns begin a subordinate clause. Examples are: that, which, who and whom.

Who, which and that can be the subjects of the verbs in relative clauses. Who refers to people and which to things; that can refer to both people and things.

Who, whom, which and that can also be used as the objects of verbs in relative clauses. Who is informal as an object; in a more formal style whom is used.

Relative pronouns as conjunctions

Relative pronouns serve two purposes: they act as subjects or objects inside their relative clauses, and at the same time they connect relative clauses to nouns or pronouns in other clauses – rather like conjunctions.