What are relative pronouns?

Relative pronouns are used after nouns to make it clear which person, place or thing we’re talking about. These are our relative pronouns:

• Who / Whom (formal)
• Whose
• Which
• That
• Where
• When
• Why

We use relative pronouns when writing defining relative clauses. These are parts of a sentence which give us information about the thing, person or place we’re talking about.
– The man who gave me the book.
– The school where I learned English

Which relative pronoun should I use?

Many people find it difficult to decide which relative pronoun to use in a sentence. We generally use who and whom for people, where for places, which for objects, when for time and why for reasons. We also use whose is used for possession. We can also use that to replace whowhom and which.
It is sometimes unclear when to use certain pronouns since the sentence might not be straightforward. This can be easily solved by splitting the sentence and finding the subject of the sentence. Once we know what our subject is, we can refer to this chart to help us decide which relative pronoun to use.


For example, in the sentence “The baker’s is a shop which sells bread”, the subject of the sentence is the shop. If we split the sentence into two parts, we would write “The baker’s is a shop. It sells bread”. This way, the pronoun becomes more evident. Because the shop is the subject of the verb “sells”, we use which or that.
However, if the sentence is changed to “This is the shop where I bought my birthday cake”, the subject of the sentence is no longer the shop. Now, the shop is the object of the sentence because “I” is the subject. If we split the sentence, we would have “This is the shop. I bought my birthday cake here”. Since the shop is being used simply as a place of reference, we use where.
For more information about this topic, take a look at the following video:

Word of the month

Word of the month: CHEAT
To cheat (verb):
• To gain an advantage unfairly.
• To be unfaithful in a relationship.

– He cheated at Monopoly, so we don’t play any games with him anymore.
– He cheated on her with another woman, so she divorced him.


Cheating in recent news
Volkswagen, the people’s car, admitted that their engines are designed to cheat emissions tests, creating pollution, scandal and possible bankruptcy.


Video of the month

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