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THE PARTS OF SPEECH [ ? ]
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PRONOUNS : What is a Pronoun? : Personal Pronouns : Interrogative Pronouns : Indefinite Pronouns : Demonstrative Pronouns : Relative Pronouns : Compound Pronouns : Gender Forms of Pronouns : Troublesome Pronouns

What are Relative Pronouns?

What are Relative Pronouns?Notice the italicized pronouns in the following sentences:

Jim Smith, the teenager who won the triathlon last week also won the Spelling Bee on Sunday night. The trophies which were awarded to him have been photographed, and the picture placed with other teams and trophies that showcase the school's successes each year.

These are called relative pronouns.

A relative pronoun relates a subordinate clause to an antecedent noun or pronoun in another clause.


In the first sentence the pronoun who relates the dependent clause, who won the triathlon last week, to its antecedent, the noun teenager, subject of the independent clause.

In the second sentence the pronoun which relates the dependent clause, which were awarded to him, to the antecedent, trophies.

Also in the second sentence the pronoun that relates the dependent clause, that showcase the school's successes each year, to the antecedents, teams and trophies.

Here is how we can distinguish the use of these relative pronouns:

Who should always refer to persons; Which should always refer to animals or things; That may refer to persons, animals, or things. Who is the only one of the relative pronouns that can be inflected for number and case.

SINGLULAR   PLURAL
NOMINATIVE Who Who
POSSESSIVE Whose   Whose
OBJECTIVE Whom   Whom

NOTE— You may also use whose as the possessive of which.

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PRONOUNS : What is a Pronoun? : Personal Pronouns : Interrogative Pronouns : Indefinite Pronouns : Demonstrative Pronouns : Relative Pronouns : Compound Pronouns : Gender Forms of Pronouns : Troublesome Pronouns





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