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Pronoun

Relative Pronouns

By now you might know what personal and impersonal pronouns are. But do you know what are relative pronouns? How can we recognize them? How are these pronouns classified? Let’s find out more about them in the section below.

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Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns are also known as ‘linking pronouns’ as they link the dependent relative clause of a sentence to its main clause.

Relative PronounsLet’s read some examples of the following pairs of sentences and observe how these are joined with the help of relative pronouns:

  • I know the girl. The girl came from Mumbai.

It can be written as – I know the girl who came from Mumbai.

  • This is the book. This belongs to my grandmother.

It can be written as – This is the book which belongs to my grandmother.

  • This is the rat. It was caught by a cat.

This can be written as – This is the rat that was caught by a cat.

  • It is you. You are to be blamed.

It can be written as – It is you who are to be blamed.

The nouns and pronouns immediately before the relative pronouns are called the antecedents. Here, ‘book’, ‘rat’, and ‘you’ are antecedents.

How to recognize them?

We can find them in the middle of a sentence to join two sentences by denoting a relation to the antecedent, like who, whose, whom, which, that. For example, this is the boy who stood first.

Classification of Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns can be classified as follows:

 Relative Pronoun Used For Examples
Who ( As Subject ) Persons only
(Both singular and plural)
He who hesitates is lost.
Whom ( As Object ) Persons only
(Both singular and plural)
These are the boys whom all praise.
Whose ( Possessive ) Persons and Things A triangle whose three sides are equal is called an equivalent triangle.
Which ( Object and Subject ) Things without life and animals. This is the way which leads to the Post Office.
That ( As Subject ) Persons, Animals and Things A dog that barks seldom bites.

It should be noted that the Relative Pronoun is usually used in the middle of the sentence. But the Relative Pronouns ‘what’, ‘who’ and ‘whom’ may sometimes be used at the beginning of a sentence and sometimes in the middle when the Antecedent is understood:

  • What has happened is not clear.
  • What cannot be cured must be endured.
  • Who laughs last laughs best.
  • I don’t know what has happened.
  • I say what I mean.
  • This is whom I want.
  • I know who he is.

Question For You

Q1: Fill in the blanks with appropriate Relative Pronouns.

  • We always like those boys ___ speak the truth.
  • He ___ does his best shall be praised.
  • I know ___ you mean.
  • God help those ___ help themselves.
  • No man can lose ___ he never had.
  • Where is the book ___ I gave you?
  • Is this the road ___ leads to the station.
  • This is the girl ___ the president offered a medal.
  • Those ___ die for others are immortal.

Ans.

  • We always like those boys who speak the truth.
  • He who does his best shall be praised.
  • I know what you mean.
  • God help those who help themselves.
  • No man can lose what he never had.
  • Where is the book which I gave you?
  • Is this the road that leads to the station.
  • This is the girl whom the president offered a medal.
  • Those who die for others are immortal.

Q2: Join the pairs of sentences with the Relative Pronoun :

  • This is the building. It was built in a month.
    Ans.  This is the building that was built in a month.
  • The film is about a spy. His wife betrays him.
    Ans. The film is about a spy whose wife betrays him.
  • This is the boy. I want this boy.
    Ans. This is the boy whom I want.
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