Review - Basic Relative Clauses

You are going to review the basic relative clause structures you already know.


Relative clauses give additional information about something without the need to start another sentence, that is, combining sentences together.

Basic relative structures

Imagine you see your friend Marta talking to an old lady. You want to tell someone about that old lady, but all the information you have about her is that she was talking to your friend Marta. You could say:

An old lady is talking to Marta. That lady is wearing a red cardigan.

That information is unnecessarily repetitive and complicated. It is easier with a relative clause: you put both pieces of information into one sentence:

The old lady who is talking to Marta is wearing a red cardigan.

Basic Relative Pronouns

relative pronoun use example
who subject or object pronoun for people I saw the lady who works at the petrol station.
which subject or object pronoun for animals and things It's something which you have in the kitchen.
that subject or object pronoun for people, animals and things in defining relative clauses (who or which are also possible) I don’t like the table that stands in the kitchen.

Omitting relative pronouns: Subject Pronoun or Object Pronoun?

Subject and object pronouns have the same form, but you can distinguish them as follows:

If the relative pronoun is a subject pronoun, then it is followed by a verb. Subject pronouns must always be used.

The tools which are in the drawer are brand new.

If the relative pronoun is not followed by a verb, then it is an object pronoun, and it can be omitted in the sentence:

The tools (which) I bought are on the table.


These are A2 level contents. If you are having problems with these concepts, visit and do all the relative clauses exercises.