Relative Pronouns Overview
Relative pronouns are words like who, which, that, what and as. They are often used to join two clauses.
Read the following pairs of sentences.
- I saw a girl. She was beautiful.
- He got a letter. He had been expecting it.
- This is the bag. You had left it behind.
Each of these pairs can be combined into a single sentence.
- I saw a girl who was beautiful.
- He got a letter which he had been expecting.
- This is the bag that you had left behind.
In the sentence ‘I saw a girl who was beautiful’ the relative pronoun who stands for the ‘girl’: hence it is a pronoun. It also connects the two sentences ‘I saw a girl’ and ‘She was beautiful’. Hence it acts as a conjunction. In the following sentence, the relative pronoun which stands for the ‘letter’. It also connects the two sentences ‘He got the letter’ and ‘He had been expecting it’. The noun to which a relative pronoun relates or refers is called its antecedent. The nouns girl, letter and bag are the antecedents of who, which, and that respectively.
Combine the following sentences using appropriate relative pronouns.
- Where is the book? I gave it to you.
- I know a man. He has just returned from Siberia.
- Where is the girl? She wanted to meet the headmaster.
- She married a painter. She met him on a bus.
- Where is the book which / that I gave you?
- I know a man who has just returned from Siberia.
- Where is the girl who wanted to meet the headmaster?
- She married a painter whom she met on a bus.