Free English Course Online 33
- Vocabulary related to grammar and learning
- Relative pronouns and relative clauses
1/ Vocabulary Practice
- relative pronouns
- to ring
- to answer
- of course
- Who was that?
- They’re the people who want to…
- Which car is that?
- some pictures which I took
- last summer
- somebody who they know…
- at this hour
- the people whose son needs a car
- to be urgent
- quite well
- a lovely meal
- at the place which they recommended
- the Italian place
- to butt in
- Don’t worry!
- to prepare
- a copy
- to do exercises
- It sticks in your mind.
- the same thing
2/ Grammar Practice
Relative pronouns and relative clauses
What is a clause?
It is a grammatical unit consisted of a subject and predicate or verb, ranked smaller than a sentence because it is not always complete in itself.
There are different types of clauses: dependent and independent:
1/ independent = expresses a complete meaning = a sentence
2/ dependent = expresses an incomplete meaning = subordinate clause
Different combinations of clauses are possible to create a compound sentence:
1/ independent clause 1 + independent clause 2 = main clause 1 + main clause 2
“We went to the park and the ride was broken.”
“I really wanted the tomato soup, but they only had the leek soup.”
2/ main clause + subordinate clause
= independent clause + dependent clause
“I found a cat that was abandoned.”
“She is the colleague who helped me with the presentation.”
How to create a relative clause?
A main clause can be a sentence on its own: He lives in this neighbourhood,
whereas a subordinate clause needs a main clause to exist, i.e.: which is very quiet. This subordinate clause is joined to the main clause via a relative pronoun.
He lives in the neighbourhood which is very quiet.
I enjoy sitting by the fireplace that is in the lounge.
I saw a movie star who is world famous.
What is a relative pronoun?
which, that, who, whom, why, whose, where, whoever, what, …
They are used to join 2 clauses: 1 subordinate clause and a main clause.
If we want 2 sentences to meet and merge into one we need a relative pronoun to show the link.
Depending on what the subordinate clause is giving more information on, we will use one relative pronoun or another:
who, whom, which, that, whose…
Let’s learn our relative pronouns and relative clauses:
1/ FOR OBJECTS: which / that = interchangeable
We take an independent sentence: “That is the new PC”
and we add more information about that object, so we add a relative pronoun and its clause
which / that
That is the new PC which/that I told you about.
In spoken English we can remove the relative pronoun: That is the new PC I told you about.
2/ FOR PEOPLE:
who / that (subject)
whom / that (object)
That is the neighbour who / that just moved in. (we use “WHO” when the subject of both clauses is identical)
That is the neighbour whom / that I met yesterday. (“the neighbour” is the object of the relative / subordinate clause)
In spoken English we don’t use “whom” as much as we should, instead we use “that” or “who”. But remember:
who / that (subject)
& whom / that (object)
3/ FOR POSSESSION:
That is the student whose grades have gone up. (The grades belong to the student)
4/ FOR PLACE:
where / in which / at which
That is the place where I left it.
That was the building in which the fire started.
That is the bus stop at which you must wait.
5/ FOR TIME:
when / at which
That is the moment when I left my job.
That is the time at which I go to bed.
Why use relative pronouns and what to watch out for?
Use and common mistakes:
1/ Avoid repetition:
He has just bought a house. It is new. He really likes it. (REPETITIVE)
> He has just bought a house which is new and that he really likes. (BETTER)
2/ Differentiate object and subject:
WRONG: He is a person which I trust
CORRECT: He is a person that I trust. / He is a person whom I trust.
3/ A relative pronoun replaces a noun group. You don’t need 2 pronouns!
WRONG: This is a house that he really likes it.
CORRECT: This is a house that he really likes.
4/ Be careful with the spelling of “which”!
It is not “witch” or “whitch” or “wich”!
3/ Sentence Practice
- The phone rings and Peter answers. “Hello, Peter speaking, yes, of course, see you tomorrow at seven o’clock!”
- Sara asks, “Who was that?” – They’re the people who want to buy my car.
- Which car is that? Here are some pictures which I took last summer.
- They should not phone somebody who they know is eating at this hour. Who are they and how do you know them?
- They are the people whose son needs a car for work. I think it must be urgent for them to phone on a Sunday.
- I know them quite well. We had a lovely meal at the place which they recommended. Do you remember the Italian place?
- Excuse me for butting in but I am confused by the relative pronouns.
- Don’t worry! I gave a lesson on relative pronouns last week. I prepared different examples. I will give you a copy.
- Just read it and do exercises until it sticks in your mind. We did the same thing at school, didn’t we Peter?
- I believe we did.
4/ Practice Quiz
- Complete the quizzes below.
- Today’s comprehension interactive video:
- Today’s sentences drag and drop:
- Today’s grammar fill in the right words: