A relative pronoun is a pronoun that begins a relative clause within a larger sentence. It is called a relative pronoun because it relates the relative (subordinate) clause to the noun that it modifies. The most commonly used relative pronouns are: who, whom, whose, which and that.
Who is used for people and if the subject of the verb.
Sometimes the relative pronoun can be omitted, especially in spoken or informal contexts.
Whom is used for people and is the object of the verb. However, it is becoming common to use who as an object or to omit the relative pronoun altogether.
This sentence could also be: This is Mai, who you met last year.
Whom is used as the object of a preposition (when it comes after the preposition).
These sentences could also be:
- Who did you give the book to?
- That is a picture of my grandfather, who I inherited the farm from.
- Which is used for animals and objects. It is becoming common to use that instead of which.
- Whose is the possessive form of the relative pronoun.
Activities to support the strategy
Watch the clip Lord Syntax and Pronouns 4 and discuss the information with students. Students can be placed in small groups and can be assigned various parts to gather information on usage and then share with whole group using examples.
The video of the pronoun song from Grammaropolis – I got the Blues will shed light on the common problem that many students have when writing and or when retelling stories, that is, introducing the pronoun without having used the antecedent noun. Discussion can focus on how this leads to confusion in meaning.
ACELA1508: Understand how noun groups/phrases and adjective groups/phrases can be expanded in a variety of ways to provide a fuller description of the person, place, thing or idea.
ACELA1520: Understand that cohesive links can be made in texts by omitting or replacing words
EN3-6B: Uses knowledge of sentence structure, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary to respond to and compose clear and cohesive texts in different media.