Hello boys and girls! How are you today? How about summer? It´s time for grammar. Let´s talk about relative clauses! Do you know what is a relative pronoun? When do you have to use one or another? What´s the correct structure of a relative clause? Are there any exceptions? Read this post and find out the answer. Are you ready?

What are relative clauses and why do we use them? Relative clauses are words inside sentences and we use them to give information about something (a thing, a person, a place…) without starting another sentence. They´re useful to give your text fluency. There are two types: defining relative clauses and not-defining relative clauses.



*You use a defining relative clause to give important information about a person, place or thing. They are not put in commas. In general, the correct structure is:

A relative pronoun + subject + verb.

E.g. That´s the city WHERE I LIVED last year.


*Exception: Sometimes the relative pronoun is the subject. In that case, the relative pronoun is followed by a verb.

E.g. The notebook which is lying on the table.


*In general, you use these relative pronouns (words that are used to introduce a subordinate clause):

WHO:  for people.  E.g. Daniel is the man who (that) works with my husband.

WHICH: for things. E.g. This is the book which (that) tells you how to be more intelligent.

WHERE: for places. E.g. That´s the city where I lived when I was a child.

WHOSE: to mean ‘of who / of which’ E.g. That´s the girl whose sister is a famous singer.

WHAT: to mean ‘a thing or the thing(s) that’. E.g. I don´t know what my teacher is talking about.

  • WHAT at the beginning of a sentence gives enphasis. E.g. What I like best about my boyfriend is his smile. / What you need now is to take a good rest.


WHOM: we use WHOM instead of WHO after prepositions ir in informal English, when it refers to the object of the verb. E.g. The man whom you met was my father. / She´s the person with whom I get on best.

  • Omit WHOM and put the preposition after the verb in informal English. E.g. She´s the person I get on best with.

*You can use THAT instead of WHO or WHICH.

  • But use WHICH (not THAT) after prepositions or to refer to the whole of a previous clause. E.g. This is the pen with which her masterpiece was written. / Mike hasn’t arrived yet, which is really worrying.


*WHO, WHICH and THAT can be omitted when the verbs in the main clause and the relative clause have a different subject.

E.g. She´s the woman (who/ that) I met at the cinema.

(The subject of ‘met’ is I, so it´s not necessary to put WHO or THAT).




*They are relative clauses that give extra, non-essential information (the sentence makes sense without it).

*You must put them between commas (or a comma and a full stop).

E.g. This painting, which was painted in 1910, is worth 1€ million.

*In these clauses, you can´t leave out the relative pronoun (who, which, etc.)

E.g. Chiclana, where my father was born, is a beautiful city.

E.g. My friend Sarah, whose daugther goes to my son´s high school, has just re-married.


*In these clauses, you can´t use THAT instead of WHO/ WHICH.

E.g. Last month I visited my grandma, who´s nearly 100 years old!

And that is all for today. Do you have any doubts? If so, leave us a comment. Once more, thank you for visiting our blog!