Relative clauses

投稿者: | 2017年1月12日

Relative clauses




clauses with who/what/which

Look at this example sentence:

 The woman who lives next door is a doctor.

                   →relative clause



 The woman who lives next door…(who lives next door tells us which woman)

 People who live in the country…(who live in the country tells us what kind of people)


We use who in a relative clause when we are talking about people (not things)



An architect is someone who designs buildings.

What was the name of the person who phoned?

Anyone who wants to apply for the job must do so by Friday.


You can also use that (instead of who), but you can’t use which for people:

who のかわりにthat もありです。でも、whichは人には使えません。

 The woman that lives next door is a doctor.


Sometimes you must use who (not that) for people.




When we are talking about things, we use that or which (not who) in a relative clause:


I don’t like stories that/which have unhappy endings.

Grace works for a company that/which makes furniture.

The machine that/which broke down is working again now.


That is more usual than which, but sometimes you must use which.



clauses with and without who/that/which


The woman who lives next door is a doctor.

  who (the woman) is the subject




The woman who I wanted to see was away on holiday.

  who (the woman) is the object

  I is the subject




The woman (who) I wanted to see was away.

Have you found the keys (that) you lost?

Is there anything (that) I can do?

The dress (that) Lisa bought doesn’t fit her very well.




Note the position of preposition (in/to/for etc.) in relative clauses:



Tom is talking to a woman – do you know her?

→Do you know the woman (who/that) Tom is talking to?


I slept in a bed last night – it wasn’t very comfortable

→The bed (that/which) I slept in last night wasn’t very comfortable.



Are these the books (that/which) you were looking for?

The woman (who/that) he fell in love with left him after a month.

The man (who/that) I was sitting next to on the plane talked all the time.






We use whose in relative clauses instead of his/her/:

 We helped some people- their car had broken down

→We helped some people whose car had broken down.


We use whose mostly for people:

 A window is a woman whose husband is dead. (her husband is dead)

 What’s the name of the man whose car you borrowed? (you borrowed his car)

 I met someone whose brother I went to school with. (I went to school with his/her brother)





Whom is possible instead of who when it is object of the verb in the relative clause:

 George is people whom I admire very much. (I admire him)


You can also use whom with a preposition (to whom/from whom/with whom etc.)

 I like the people with whom I work (I work with him)


Whom is a formal word.

We usually prefer who or that, or nothing.




You can use where in a relative clause to talk about a place:

 the restaurant – we had lunch there – it was near the airport

→The restaurant where we had lunch was near the airport.


I recently went back to the town where I grew up.

I would like to live in place where there is plenty of sunshine.



extra information clauses

There are two types of relative clause.


Type 1

The woman who lives next door is a doctor.

Grace works for a company that makes furniture.

We stayed at the hotel (that) you recommended.


In these examples, the relative clauses tell you which person or thing.


Type 2

My brother Ben, who lives in Hong Kong, is an architect.

Anna told me about her new job, which she’s enjoying a lot.

We stayed at the Park Hotel, which a friend of ours recommended.


In these examples, the relative clauses do not tell you which person or thing the speaker means.

We already know which thing or person is meant: ` My brother Ben’, `Anna’s new job’, `the Park Hotel’.


The relative clauses in these sentences give us extra information about the person or thing.






In both types of relative clause we use who for people and which for things.


Type 1

You can use that:

 Do you know anyone who/that speaks French and Italian?

 Grace works for a company which/that makes furniture.


You can leave out who/which/that when it is the object.

 We stayed at the hotel (that/which) you recommended.

 This morning I met somebody (who/that) I hadn’t seen for ages.


We do not often use whom in this type of clause.


Type 2

You cannot use that:

 John, who (not that) speaks French and Italian, works as a tour guide.

 Anna told me about her new job, which (not that) she’s enjoying a lot.


You cannot leave out who or which:

 We stayed at the Park Hotel, which a friend of ours recommended.

 This morning I met Chris, who I hadn’t seen for ages.


You can use whom for people (when it is the object):

 This morning I met Chris, whom I hadn’t seen for ages.



extra information clauses 2


Prepositions + whom/which


You can use a preposition before whom (for people) and which (for things).

So you can say:

to whom/ with whom/ about whom/ without whom etc:


Mr Lee, to whom I spoke at the morning, is very interested in our proposal.

 Fortunately we had a good map, without which we would have got lost.


In informal English we often keep the preposition after the verb in the relative clause.

When we do this, we normally use who (not whom) for people:


 This is my friend from Canada, who I was telling you about.

 Yesterday we visited the City Museum, which I’d never been to before.



All of/ most of etc. + whom/which


 Helen has three brothers. All of them are married. (2 sentences)

 Helen has three brothers, all of whom are married. (1 sentence)


 They asked me a lot of questions. I couldn’t answer most of them. (2 sentences)

They asked me a lot of questions, most of which I couldn’t answer. (1 sentence)


In the same way you can say:

 none of/ neither of/ any of/ either of

 some of/ many of/ much of/ (a) few of

 both of/ half of/ each of/ one of/ two of  

+ whom (people), which (things)


 Martin tried on three jackets, none of which fitted him.

 Two men, neither of whom I had seen before, came into the office.

 They have three cars, two of which they rarely use.

 Sue has a lot of friends, many of whom she was at school with.






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