Relative Pronouns: Definition, Rules & Useful Examples

Relative Pronouns! What is a relative pronoun? Learn relative pronoun definition, useful grammar rules with examples sentences and ESL printable infographic.

Relative Pronouns

What is a Relative Pronoun?

Relative Pronouns are used to join or relate two different clauses together by referring to the noun in the previous clause using the pronounsWho, Whom, Whose, Which and That.

Relative Pronouns Rules

Which and That are generally used for objects; while Who and Whom are used for people, and Whose is used to show possession.

  • She will choose the colour which looks good on everyone.

Here, which is joining the two related clauses about choosing a colour and a colour which would look good on everyone.

  • She is complaining to whoever she comes across nowadays.

Here, the “whoever” is the object of the verb ‘complaining’ and it is linking the two clauses about someone complaining and the frequency of their complaints.

  • There is a car in the parking lot that someone has painted a bright pink.

That is joining the two sentences related to the object and its location in the first and its appearance in the second.

  • She needs to know by tomorrow who will be accompanying her on the trip.

Who here stands for the unknown person and it also joins the two different clauses together.

  • Is there anyone here whose mobile phone has a signal?

Whose is used here to ask if anyone has possession of something that the speaker needs.

Relative Pronouns Examples

Relative Pronouns



Who Used for people(Subject) Who are all those people?
Whom Used for people(Object) To whom do you wish to speak?
Which Used for objects Which of your parents do you feel closer to?
Whose Used to show possession Whose keys are on the kitchen counter?
Where Refers to places Where is my T-shirt?
When Refer to time When are you going?
Why Refer to reason Why did you choose me?
What Relates to things What size shoes do you take?
That Relates to people, animals and things Is this the train that goes to Braintree?

Relative Pronouns | Infographic

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2 years ago

But these are interrogative pronouns, not relatives in some of the examples.

Mojtaba Arjomandi
Mojtaba Arjomandi
1 year ago

My kind professors, when we use the interrogative pronoun “who,” sometimes, we don’t know for example how many people are playing piano in the house. or How many people are cleaning the house; it sounds that we had better write ***who plays the piano?” or ***who cleans the house?*** instead of writing who are playing the piano? or who are cleaning the house?
I prefer to write “Who cleans the house?”
would you mind if I asked you to guide me?
With kind regards,
Mojtaba Arjomandi (PhD)

Mojtaba Arjomandi
Mojtaba Arjomandi
1 year ago

Moreover, I should thank you, your website is helpful and constructive,
With kind regards,
Mojtaba Arjomandi

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