DEFINING RELATIVE SENTENCES

Have a look at these examples:                                                                           

I talked to the man who gave you the present.
I gave you the letter which came this morning

Who gave you the present and which came this morning are "defining relative clauses". They tell us which person or thing the speaker mean ,ie, they define , give us essential information about the man and the letter. Which man ? The one who gave you a present. Which letter? the one that arrived this morning.

1. Defining relative clauses with Who, That and Which
2. Leaving out Who, That and Which
3. Defining relative clauses with Whose,Where,When and Why/That

4. Relative clauses with prepositions + Which and Whom
5. Exercises

 

1. Defining relative clauses with who, that and which
   We use who for people and which for things.

I talked to the man who gave you the present.
I gave you the letter which came this morning

We can also use "That" instead of who or which in defining relative clauses. It is more informal.

I talked to the man that gave you the present.
I gave you the letter that came this morning

Note that who, which or that replace the pronoun.

I talked to a man. He gave you a present.
I talked to the man who gave you a present
NOT: I talked to the man who he gave you a present

2. Leaving out Who, That and Which
 
The relative pronouns "who","that" or "which" can be the object or the subject  of a defining relative sentence.Compare:

Peter is the boy who came yesterday
who is the subject  of "came": He came yesterday

Peter is the boy who I saw in the restaurant yesterday
who is the object of "saw", not the subject : I saw him in the restaurant yesterday. ("I" is the subject)

 When , in a defining relative sentence, the relative pronoun is the object , we often leave it out.

So we have the following possibilities for this sentence:

Peter is the boy *whom I saw in the restaurant yesterday. (Very formal)
Peter is the boy who I saw in the restaurant yesterday (less formal than "whom")
Peter is the boy that I saw in the restaurant yesterday (less formal than "who")
Peter is the boy I saw in the restaurant yesterday (informal)

*whom (for people) is a relative pronoun that can be used instead of "who" when it is the object of the verb in a relative clause. It is very formal and not very common in everyday speech.

I met a woman whom I know

 

3. Defining relative clauses with Whose,Where,When and Why/That

WHOSE  is used to talk about possession and it substitutes the possessive adjectives (his,her, my...)

I saw a girl . Her beauty took my breath away
I saw a girl whose beauty took my breath away

They are the students. Their teacher is in hospital with a broken leg
They are the students whose teacher is in hospital with a broken leg

WHERE is used for places and WHEN is used for times

The supermarket where I normally  buy is closed
Tell me the time when we can meet

After the word "reason" , we can use WHY or THAT in a relative clause.

The reason why/that I am angry is because you donīt work enough

NOTE: We can leave out "when" and "why/that"

 Tell me the time we can meet

         We can leave out "where" if we use a preposition.

The hotel where we stayed was near the sea
The hotel we stayed at was near the sea

4. Relative clauses with prepositions + Which and Whom

We can use a preposition before which and whom  eg. in which, with whom in a defining relative clause

That the village in which he was born
The girl at whom I was looking was very pretty

But in everyday speech , it is more normal to put the preposition at the end of the clause and to leave out the relative pronoun.

That the village  he was born in
The girl  I was looking at was very pretty

 

 

5.EXERCISES

Exercise 1:Leaving out the relative pronoun
Exercise 2: Leaving out who and which
Exercise 3: whose,when ,where, why
Exercise 4: Transformations
Exercise 5: Prepositions