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Pronouns in relative clauses. English Grammar

Relative pronouns

Relative clauses often use relative pronouns such as: that, where, who (whom), whose, which But NOT WHAT!!

Rule: We cannot use ",WHAT" as the relative pronoun or a relative clause.

Omitting the relative pronoun

There are two different types of relative clause where we can leave out the relative pronoun.

When the relative pronoun is the object of the verb and not the subject of a relative clause.

Rule: In all relative clauses where the relative pronoun "who/that/which" is followed by a personal pronoun
the relative pronoun can be omitted (left out).

Relative pronouns omitted because they would preceed a personal pronoun

  1. This is the book, that I read yesterday. (This is the book, I read yesterday.)
  2. This is the man, who I spoke to earlier. (This is the man, I spoke to earlier.)
  3. Do you know a place, where I can relax in peace? (Don't omit where as the meaning is weakened)
  4. This a the man, who I went to school with. (This is a man I went to school with)
  5. The person you need to talk to is on holiday.
  6. This is the best wine I've ever tasted.
  7. The book I bought yesterday is good.
  8. Have you found the keys you lost?

Do you understand? Take the test about relative pronouns that can be left out.

More about relative pronouns

Question: What happens to the meaning of these sentences if we take away or leave out the relative pronouns?
  1. Pigs can fly. - (Changed meaning into statement. Pigs are generally able to fly)
  2. People live in Africa - (Changed meaning into statement. There are some people living in Africa)
  3. Things are made of chocolate. - (Changed meaning into statement.
  4. Places it hardly ever rains. - (No change in the meaning)
  5. Is there somebody, can explain this to me? (This has no clear meaning)
  6. Countries queen Victoria visited. (OR: Countries visited by Queen victoria.)

Rule: ALL relative pronouns used to define a subject must not be omitted (left out). Unless followed by a personal pronoun or proper noun.

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