Mon. May 27th, 2024

    what are relative pronoun ( relative pronoun )

    what are relative pronoun

    in this article we will know about  the relative pronoun that what are relative pronoun with examples in detail 

    Relative Pronouns can be used to describe a person, thing, or action leading up to a noun. They also identify the person, thing, or action as the subject of the sentence. There are three kinds of relative pronouns:

    1) Who, whom, whose, etc. (pronouns that stand before a noun)

    2) Whose, whom, whose, etc. (pronouns that stand after a noun)

    3) Which, that, this, etc. (pronouns that stand after a noun)

    To understand the concept of relative pronouns, read the following pairs of sentences carefully

    I met Ali. Ali had just returned

    I have found the pencil. I had lost the pencil

    Here is the watch you lent me 

    Let’s combine each of the above sentences

    I met ALI, who had just returned 

    I have found the pencil which I lost 

    Here is the watch you lent me

    The word which joins or connects two statements. It, therefore, does the work of a Conjunction.

    The word which, therefore, does double work-the work of a Pronoun and also the work of We might, therefore, call it a Conjunctive Pronoun

    It is, however, called a Relative Pronoun because it refers to or relates (for example, carries us.

    back) to some noun going before (here, the noun Ali), which is called it’s Antecedent

    Let the pupil show why which and that are also Relative Pronouns in the second and

    third sentences

    What is the Antecedent of which in the second sentence?

    What is the Antecedent of that in the third sentence?


    The Relative Pronoun has different forms for Accusative and Genitive.           


    Singular / plural






    Whom /who

    This is the boy (or girl) who works hard.

    This is the boy (or girl) whose exercise is done well.

    This is the boy (or git) whom/who all praise.

    These are the boys (or girls) who work hard. 

    These are the boys (or gins) whose exercises are done well.

    These are the boys (or girls) whom/who all praise. 

    It will be noticed that the forms are the same for singular and plural, masculine and feminine.

    The Relative Pronoun has the same form for the Nominative and Accusative cases.

    This is the house which belongs to my uncle. 

    The house which my uncle built cost him Rs. 3,50,000.

    The Relative Pronoun which has no Genitive Case, but whose is used as a substitute for of which; as

    A triangle whose three sides are equal is called an equilateral triangle.

    The Relative Pronoun that has the same form in the Singular and Plural, and in the Nominative and Accusative. It has no Genitive case.

    He that is content is rich.

    They that touch pitch will be defiled. 

    Take anything that you like

    The Relative Pronoun what is used only in the Singular and has the same form in the Nominative and Accusative.

    What has happened is not clear.

    I say what I mean

    He failed in what he attempted.


    As a general rule, who is used for persons only, it may refer to a Singular or a Plural Noun.

    The man who is honest is trusted 

    Blessed is he who has found his work

    He prayeth best who loveth best.

    He who hesitates is lost.

    They never fail who die in a great cause. 

    They are slaves who dare not be

    in the right with two or three

    Who is sometimes used in referring to animals. Whose (the Possessive form of who) is used in speaking of persons, animals, and also without life as, 

    The sun, whose rays give life to the earth, is regarded by some people as a god.

    This is the question whose solution has baffled philosophers of all ages.

    More properly. This is the question the solution of which has baffled philosophers of all ages.

    Which is used for things without life and for animals. It may refer to a Singular or Plural Noun.

    The moment which is lost is lost forever.

    The books which help you most are those which make you think most. 

    The horse which one recently bought is an Arab

    Which was formerly used to refer to persons; as,

    Our Father, which art in heaven.

    Which may also refer to a sentence; as,

    The man was said to be drunk, which was not the case.

    He said he saw me there, which was a lie. 

    He is here, which is fortunate.

    Note-The relative pronouns who and which can be used

    1 To restrict, limit, or define more clearly the Antecedent; that is, where the clause introduced by a relative pronoun is restrictive or non-defining; as 

    the man who had cheated me was yesterday arrested by the police

    The book which you see on the table cost me ninety rupees. 

    (2) To give some additional information about the Antecedent; that is, where the clause introduced by a relative pronoun is continuative or defined as,

    The teacher sent for the boy, who (= and he) came at once

    I gave him a rupee, which (= and it) was all I had with me.

    Note that non-defining clauses are separated from the main clause by commas. Com pare:

    My brother, who is a doctor, has gone to America.

    My brother, who is a doctor, has gone to America. 

    The first sentence implies that the speaker has several brothers, and the clause who is a doctor distinguishes a particular one of them. In the second, the clause does not define, and the implication is that the speaker has only one brother. 

    That is used for persons and things. It may refer to a Singular or Plural Noun.

    That has no genitive case, and it is never used with a preposition preceding.

    This is the boy that I told you of 

    I know the house that he lives in

    Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

    I have lost the watch that you gave me.

    Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just.

    A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 

    He that is not with me is against me.

    Happy is the man that findeth wisdom. 

    He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty.

    The crowd that gathered cheered him to the echo.

    It will be noticed that the relative pronoun is used only in defining clauses, for example, clauses that restrict, limit, or define the Antecedent.

    That may be used an adverbial accusative =on which, in which, at which as

     I remember the day he came 

    On the day that thou eatest thou shalt surely die  

    As the Relative Pronoun that has a restrictive force, it sometimes becomes unsuitable as the substitute for who or which. Thus I cannot say

    My Father that is a schoolmaster, is fifty years old.

    I must say

    My Father, who is a schoolmaster fifty years old

    But if I happen to have more than one sister, I can say 

    My sister, that has been adopted by my uncle, is ill

    The Relative Pronoun that is used in preference to who or which 

    (1) After Adjectives in the Superlative Degree, as

    He was the most eloquent speaker that I had ever heard. 

    The wise man that ever lived made mistakes

    This is the best that we can do. 

    (2) After the words, all, same, any, none, nothing (the) only; as,

    All is not gold that glitters.

    He is the same man that he has been 

    it is only donkeys that tray

    It was not for nothing mat he studied philosophy. 

    Man is the only animal that can talk. 

    (3) After the Interrogative Pronouns who, what; as,

    Who mat saw her did not pity her?

    Who am I that I should object?

    What is mat troubles you so much? 

    What is there that I do not know?

    (4) After two antecedents, one denoting a person and the other denoting an animal or a thing; as

    The boy and his dog that had trespassed on the premises were turned out.

    What refers to things only. It is used without an antecedent expressed and is equivalent to that which (or the thing which)

    What (=that which) cannot be cured must be endured.

    I say what is (=that which) I mean 

    I mean, what say

    What is done cannot be undone.

    What man has done, man can do

    What is one man’s meat is another man’s poison

    Give careful heed to what I say.

    What I have written, I have written.

    He found what he was looking for

    It will be noticed that what is used in the Nominative and Accusative singular only. 

    In older English, the word as was used as a relative pronoun after such, as,

    Tears such as angels weep burst forth. 

    These mangoes are not such as I bought yesterday.

    He is such a man as I honor.

    We have never had such a time as the present.

    His answer was such as I expected him to give

    The word as can be used as a relative pronoun after same, as

    My trouble is the same as yours

    This is not the same as that

    (But) I played with the same bat that you did

    The same as usually means of the same kind.

    The same that means ‘one and the same 

    The word as is also used as a Relative Pronoun after as followed by an adjective as

    I collected as many specimens as I could find

    [Note-The first as is here an Adverb.]

    In older English, the word but was used as a relative pronoun after a negative; it often had the force of a relative pronoun. 

    There is none but will agree with me (but will agree = who will not agree)

    here is no Hindu but knows the story of the Ramayana (That is, there is no Hindu who does not know, etc.)

    There is no man but wishes to live 

    There is no rose but has some thorn (but which not)

    There is scarcely a child but likes candy

    There is no man who knows these things (but who does not) 

    It will be seen that the pronoun but is here equivalent to who not, which….not.


    The Relative Pronoun is generally omitted when it would be in the accusative case as

    Few and short were the prayers we said 

    A contented mind is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in the world.

    I am monarch of all ^1 survey 

    Men must reap the things they sow

    “That is used preferably with reference to persons. Thus we tend to say the meeting

    which I attended yesterday rather than the meeting that I attended yesterday. But more frequently still do we say the meeting I attended yesterday, the Accusative Relative being as a rule omitted altogether?-Onions.

    This tendency to omit the Accusative Relative is more marked in the spoken language. In written language, its omission is often felt to be undignified.

    In the following examples from poetry, a Relative Pronoun in the nominative case is omitted:

    This distance ^ lends enchantment to the view. 

    I have a brother who is condemned to die.

    Note-The omission of a Relative Pronoun in the nominative case is now quiet except in colloquial speech.

    There’s somebody at the door who wants to see you.


    In older English, the Antecedent of a Relative Pronoun was sometimes left out; as,

    Who works not shall not eat

    =(He) who works shall not eat

    Whom the gods love, die young

    =(Those) whom the gods love die young

    Who steals my purse steals trash.

    Who laughs last laughs best?

    Who has lost all hope has also lost all fear 

    Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever.


    As the Relative Pronoun refers to a Noun or Pronoun (called its Antecedent), it must be of the same number and person as its Antecedent. [Remember that the verb shows the number and person of the Relative Pronoun]

    The boy who was lazy was punished 

    The boys who were lazy were punished

    I, who am your king, will lead you.

    I am the person that is to blame 

     who meet your protection are strangers hers 

    O thou that Madhes Israeli

    You who are mighty should be merciful 

    You who seek wisdom should be humble

    He that He with me is against me down needs to fear no fall

    He that he is ack mat fast till he is well They who live in glass houses should not throw stones

    They who seek only for faults see nothing else

    The flowers which grow in our gardens are not for sale

    This is the only one of his poems Par is worth reading 

    [ = Of his poems, this is the only one that is worth reading]

    But the case of the Relative Pronoun depends upon its relation t the verb in the clause in which it occurs.

    Rama is the boy who did it.

    Rama, the boy whom I want

    Rama is the boy whose pencil I have.

    Rama is the boy to whom I spoke.

    He whom we worship, by whose gift we live is the Lord. 


    To prevent ambiguity, the Relative Pronoun should be placed as near as possible to its Antecedent; as,

    The boy who won the first prize in English is the son of my friend, Mr. Josh.

    It would mean something quite different if we separate the Relative Pronoun from its Antecedent and say

    The boy is the son of my friend Mr. Joshi who won the first prize

    Again such a sentence as I have read Gokhale’s speeches, who was a disciple of Ranade” would be improved if changed to “I have read the speeches of Gokhale, who was a disciple of Ranade.

    So also, the following sentence requires to be rearranged: 

    I with my family reside in a village near Pune, which consists of my wife and three children. 


    Pronouns are formed by adding ever, so, or soever to who, which, and what are called Compound Relative Pronouns. They are: Whoever, whoso, whosoever; whichever: whatever, whatsoever

    These Relatives have no antecedent expressed. 

    Whosoever (=any and every person who) exalteth himself shall be abased.

    Whose diggeth a pit shall fail therein 

    Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might

    The forms whoever whichever and whenever are now ordinarily used as 

    Whoever (i.e., any person who) comes is welcome

    Take whichever, i.e., any which you like 

    I will take with me whomsoever you choose

    Whatever, i.e., anything which he does, he does well.

     In summary, relative pronouns are used to link clauses together and they include who, which, that, whom, and whose. Relative pronouns are used to refer to something that has been mentioned in the previous sentence.

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