Relative clauses and relative pronouns

Relative pronouns make it very clear which particular person or thing is being discussed e.g. Jackie O is our bright white cat who gave birth to triplets last year.

Relative clauses also give more information about things or people e.g. Jackie O, who is a three year old, short-tailed cat, is the mother of Princess Grace, King George and Queen Rania. The word WHO in that sentence refers to Jackie O and is a relative pronoun. Without relative pronouns we would have only had Jackie O is the mother of Princess Grace, King George and Queen Rania. Not quite as interesting as the first example and definitely not as informative. So relative clauses and knowing the correct relative pronoun to use WILL make your writing a LOT MORE INTERESTING to read.

Another example (sticking with the cats) is Grace and Rania, whose brother George was the last to be born, are the larger of the triplets. In that example, we get more information and the word WHOSE refers to Grace and Rania and shows their possession-of-George-as-their-brother.

Relative pronouns


  • who
  • which
  • that


  • who/whom
  • which
  • that


  • whose
  • whose

Use WHO and WHOM for people (or cats, dogs, etc)

Use WHICH for things

Use THAT for people and things

So remember relative clauses come in two types:

  • ones that show which person/thing is being discussed
  • ones that give more information about the person/thing being discussed

There is of course, a lot more to the topic of relative clauses and relative pronouns, but for now, you have the basics to go off and begin writing more captivating and informative sentences for whatever it is you want to write for e.g. IELTS tests. I shall add more posts about this again soon.

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