Relative pronouns – who, which, whose, that

1. When do we use the relative pronouns who, which, whose and that?

We use relative pronouns to combine sentences or to tell use more about 

who → when we talk about people

which → when we talk about things

whose → instead of his/her or their

that can also be used in place of who and which.

2. How are relative pronouns used

Relative pronouns are used to introduce relative clauses in sentences. There are two types of relative clauses: defining and non-defining

2.1 Defining relative clauses

Look at this sentence:

  • The man who/that lives next door works in a garage.

who lives next door’ is a defining relative clause. It tells us which man we are talking about.

2.2 Non-defining relative clauses

Look at this sentence.

  • My grandmother, who is 99, goes swimming every day.

‘who is 99’ is a non-defining relative clause. It adds extra information to the sentence. If we take the clause out of the sentence, the sentence still has the same meaning.