Relative Pronoun: Definition, List and Examples of Relative Pronouns

Relative Pronouns! (Who, Whom, Whose, Which, That) What is a relative pronoun? We use a relative pronoun to introduce a dependent clause, which is also known as a relative clause, hence the name. These are often the basis of a question in the English language and are commonly used and seen within conversation. It is therefore important that as a student of the English language, you become aware of these pronouns and how to use them.

In this section, we will be looking deeper into what a relative pronoun is, how it can be used in written and spoken language as well as the rules surrounding its use.

What is a Relative Pronoun?

What is a relative pronoun? Arelative pronounis apronounthat relates to the word that it modifies and is not specific. In English, relative pronouns arewho,whom,which,whose, andthat.

关系代词链接到一个单独的两个条款complex clause. It is similar in function to asubordinating conjunction. Unlike aconjunction, however, a relative pronoun stands in place of a noun.

Relative Pronouns List | Who, Whom, Whose, Which, That

Learn the relative pronouns list with useful grammar rules, example sentences and ESL picture.


  • Used for people

The womanwhocalled yesterday wants to buy the house.

Cindy,whotaught me English, has just got married. (whorefers toCindyand is the subject oftaughtin the relative clause)

I discussed it with my brother,whois a lawyer. (whorefers tomy brotherand is the object ofdiscussedin the relative clause)


  • Used for things and animals

Did you see the letterwhichcame today?

I love the puppywhichis jumping at the kitchen.

  • Can act as the subject or the object of the relative clause

His best movie,whichwon several awards, was about the life of Gandhi.(whichrefers to thehis best movieand is the object ofwonin the relative clause)

She can’t come to my birthday party,whichmakes me sad.(whichrefers to the whole sentence before it)


  • Used for people, things, and animals (whoandwhichcan be replaced bythat, which we use commonly in spoken English)

The girlthatwe met in France has sent us a card. (orwho)

We live in a ground floor flatthatbacks onto a busy street. (orwhich)

Do you like the catthatis sleeping underneath the table? (orwhich)

  • Can act as the subject or the object of the relative clause

I’ll tell you a secretthatis very interesting. (thatrefers toa secretand is the subject ofisin the relative clause)

This is the bookthatI buy. (thatrefers tothe bookand is the object ofbuyin the relative clause)


  • Used for possessions of people, animals

He’s a manwhoseopinion I respect.

She’s the studentwhosehandwriting is the best in my class.


  • Used for people when the person is the object of the verb

The authorwhomyou criticized in your review has written a letter in reply.

Note forRelative Pronouns

The best way to know which pronoun to use is to look at the noun before it.

For example:

This is the carthatI drove toParis.” The noun before “that” is “car”, which is a thing, so we know we can use the pronouns “that” or “which”.

In the sentence “I know a womanwhois a doctor.” The noun “woman” is a person, so we know we can use “who” or “that” after it.

Relative Pronoun Reduction

Relative pronouns can sometimes be left out; they are understood but not given in the sentence as in the following example:

I bought a bookthatmy sister recommended.

如果关系代词是它的主题s clause, then it must be kept. Otherwise, the relative pronoun can generally be dropped.

Relative Pronouns | Image

Learn useful relative pronouns list with grammar rules and examples.

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Relative Pronouns: Learn Useful List and Examples in English

Last Updated on February 27, 2023

17 thoughts on “Relative Pronoun: Definition, List and Examples of Relative Pronouns”

  1. Complete the following with relative pronouns.
    1. The tour leader asked us to come early but is _____ late.
    2. She _____ wore a red dress but asked others not to wear a red one.


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