Are you curious about what a relative pronoun is? Do you want to know its function in a sentence? This article will cover parts of speech, clauses, and their function in sentences.
Parts of Speech
Following is information on various parts of speech, including nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and pronouns. This is needed so that you will understand the definition of relative pronoun later.
- NOUN: A noun is a word which names living or non-living objects. It also refers to places and ideas. A noun can function as a subject of a clause, an appositive, complement, or an object of a verb or preposition.
- VERB: A verb shows action in a sentence that is being performed by the subject. A verb can also show a state of being or be a linking verb, like: is, am, been, or being.
- ADVERB: Adverbs are modifiers, which give more information about a word. They can modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They tell how, where, when, or to what extent an action happened. They can amplify or tone down a word, or place more or less emphasis on it.
- ADJECTIVES: These words modify nouns and pronouns. For example, some are based on opinion while others refer to physical traits. Some will tell where an object was made, what it was made of, and its purpose. Other adjectives compare two or more objects like the adjectives: good, better, or best.
- PRONOUNS: Pronouns can take the place of nouns. Examples are in parenthesis. There are personal pronouns that are subjective (I, he, she), objective (me, him, her), or possessive (my, his, hers). Indefinite pronouns replace nouns in general (few, many) and demonstrative pronouns focus attention (that, those). Reflexive and intensive pronouns emphasize the noun they replace (myself, yourself).
A clause is a group of words that has a subject and a verb. Phrases, on the other hand, are also a group of words but they don’t have a subject or verb. There are two types of clauses: independent and dependent.
Independent clauses are called sentences. They have a subject and verb, or predicate, and express a complete thought. An example would be: Mary and Joe ran to the park this morning.
A dependent clause is like an independent clause, but it cannot stand alone as it doesn’t show a complete thought. It depends on another clause to complete its thought. An example is: When I get home. The thought is not finished because as you read it you wonder, “What will happen when he or she gets home?”
Dependent clauses function as nouns (nominal), adverbs, and adjectives. The first word in a dependent clause serves to link it with the other clause. These words are called subordinate conjunctions, like when, since, after, because, and until. A complex sentence will have both an independent clause and a dependent clause.
Examples of Relative Pronouns
In order to give examples of relative pronouns and their function, it will be more helpful to show the entire sentence. An adjective clause (adjectival clause) is a dependent clause that functions as an adjective, modifying nouns and pronouns. It starts with either a relative adverb: where, when, and why, or a relative pronoun: that, who, whom, whose, or which.
Here is a list of relative pronouns: that, when, which, whichever, whichsoever, who, whoever, whosoever, whom, whomever, whomsoever whose, whosesoever whatever, whatsoever. Following are examples of sentences that have adjective clauses starting with relative pronouns (underlined).
- Spaghetti, which many of us enjoy, can be messy.
- This is the book that everyone is talking about.
- She wrote to the person whom she had met last month.
- We didn’t bring the receipt, which was a big mistake.
- I have a friend whose cat is annoying.
- People who are clever can always find a way.
- Grandma remembers a time when radio shows were popular.
- “Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.” - Erma Bombeck