Pronouns (Personal, Possessive, Relative and Reflexive Pronouns)


Pronouns (Personal, Possessive, Relative and
Reflexive Pronouns)
Pronouns are words like I, me (personal pronouns) or my, mine (possessive pronouns).
Personal Pronouns Possessive Adjectives and Pronouns
Reflexive Pronouns
subject form object form possessive adjective possessive pronoun
I me my mine myself
you you your yours yourself
he him his his himself
she her her hers herself
it it its its itself
we us our ours ourselves
you you your yours yourselves
they them their theirs themselves
We use relative clauses to give additional information about something without starting another
sentence. By combining sentences with a relative clause, your text becomes more fluent and you
can avoid repeating certain words.
How to Form Relative Clauses
Imagine, a girl is talking to Tom. You want to know who she is and ask a friend whether he knows
her. You could say:
A girl is talking to Tom. Do you know the girl?
That sounds rather complicated, doesn't it? It would be easier with a relative clause: you put both
pieces of information into one sentence. Start with the most important thing – you want to know
who the girl is.
Do you know the girl …
As your friend cannot know which girl you are talking about, you need to put in the additional
information – the girl is talking to Tom. Use „the girl“ only in the first part of the sentence, in the
second part replace it with the relative pronoun (for people, use the relative pronoun „who“). So the
final sentence is:
Do you know the girl who is talking to Tom?
Relative Pronouns
relative
pronoun use example
who subject or object pronoun for people I told you about the woman
who lives next door.
which subject or object pronoun for animals and things Do you see the cat which is
lying on the roof?
which referring to a whole sentence He couldn’t read which
surprised me.
whose possession for people animals and things Do you know the boy whose
mother is a nurse?
whom
object pronoun for people, especially in non-defining
relative clauses (in defining relative clauses we
colloquially prefer who)
I was invited by the professor
whom I met at the conference.
that
subject or object pronoun for people, animals and
things in defining relative clauses (who or which are
also possible)
I don’t like the table that
stands in the kitchen.
Subject Pronoun or Object Pronoun?
Subject and object pronouns cannot be distinguished by their forms - who, which, that are used for
subject and object pronouns. You can, however, distinguish them as follows:
If the relative pronoun is followed by a verb, the relative pronoun is a subject pronoun. Subject
pronouns must always be used.
the apple which is lying on the table
If the relative pronoun is not followed by a verb (but by a noun or pronoun), the relative pronoun is
an object pronoun. Object pronouns can be dropped in defining relative clauses, which are then
called Contact Clauses.
the apple (which) George lay on the table
Relative Adverbs
A relative adverb can be used instead of a relative pronoun plus preposition. This often makes the
sentence easier to understand.
This is the shop in which I bought my bike.
→ This is the shop where I bought my bike.
relative adverb meaning use example
when in/on which refers to a time
expression the day when we met him
where in/at which refers to a place the place where we met
him
why for which refers to a reason the reason why we met him
Defining Relative Clauses
Defining relative clauses (also called identifying relative clauses or restrictive relative clauses) give
detailed information defining a general term or expression. Defining relative clauses are not put in
commas.
Imagine, Tom is in a room with five girls. One girl is talking to Tom and you ask somebody whether
he knows this girl. Here the relative clause defines which of the five girls you mean.
Do you know the girl who is talking to Tom?
Defining relative clauses are often used in definitions.
A seaman is someone who works on a ship.
Object pronouns in defining relative clauses can be dropped. (Sentences with a relative clause
without the relative pronoun are called Contact Clauses.)
The boy (who/whom) we met yesterday is very nice.
Non-Defining Relative Clauses
Non-defining relative clauses (also called non-identifying relative clauses or non-restrictive relative
clauses) give additional information on something, but do not define it. Non-defining relative
clauses are put in commas.
Imagine, Tom is in a room with only one girl. The two are talking to each other and you ask
somebody whether he knows this girl. Here the relative clause is non-defining because in this
situation it is obvious which girl you mean.
Do you know the girl, who is talking to Tom?
Note: In non-defining relative clauses, who/which may not be replaced with that.
Object pronouns in non-defining relative clauses must be used.
Jim, who/whom we met yesterday, is very nice.
How to Shorten Relative Clauses?
Relative clauses with who, which, that as subject pronoun can be replaced with a participle. This
makes the sentence shorter and easier to understand.
I told you about the woman who lives next door. – I told you about the woman living next door.
Do you see the cat which is lying on the roof? – Do you see the cat lying on the roof?