What is a Relative Pronoun?
A Relative Pronoun is a pronoun that introduces a relative clause/ adjective clause. A relative clause cannot exist without a Relative Pronoun. The commonly used Relative Pronouns are which, that, who, whoever, and whom. “What,” “when,” and “where” are also sometimes used as Relative Pronouns.
A Relative Pronoun can function as a subject, an object, or a possessive pronoun.
Relative pronoun as subject:
- The girl who is sitting next to your sister is my friend’s fiancée.
(In this sentence, “who” is the Relative Pronoun. It introduces the relative clause, “who is sitting next to your sister.” It is also the subject of the relative clause. The antecedent of “who,” the Relative Pronoun, is “the girl”).
“that,” “which,” and “who” are the Relative Pronouns that function as the subjects of the relative clauses.
Relative pronoun as object:
- My daughter will wear the dress that I bought yesterday on her birthday.
(In the above sentence, “that” is the relative pronoun. It introduces the relative clause “that I bought yesterday.” It is also the object of the relative clause. The antecedent of “that” is “the dress”). The Relative Pronouns commonly used as direct objects are “that,” ” which”, and “whom.”
Relative pronoun as a possessive pronoun:
There is only one relative possessive pronoun. That is, “whom.”
An example illustrating the usage of “whom”:
- I gave some money to the poor boy whose purse was lost.
“whose purse was lost” is the relative clause.