Las relative clauses u oraciones en relativo son aquellas que ejercen la función de oración subordinada en relación a la oración principal.

En el post de hoy os las explicaremos con detenimiento cuáles son las relative clauses y sus usos:



Relative clauses are introduced by a relative pronoun. The relative pronouns are:

Who: for people.

-Whom: for people.

Which: for things or animals.

That: for people, animals, or things.

Whose: for people, animals or things.

Where: for places.

When: for time.


relative clauses


The relative pronouns that are used in defining relative clauses are:

Who/that: The woman who/that plays tennis with us is John’s mum.

Whom/that: The man whom/that I met at the party is her brother.

Which/that: The car which/that is outside is mine.

Whose: She is the artist whose paintings are very popular.

Where: The Village where she lives is near Vila-real.

When/that: That was the day when/that I met Mary.

Why/that: This is not the reason why I called.

Defining relative clauses provide the information that is necessary in a clause. Without this, the clause would not have a complete meaning. Look at the example:

The man who used to live next door has moved to London.

If we leave out the defining relative clause, only the main clause remains: ……..The defining relative clause, ie: who used to live next door, is necessary for the clause to have a complete meaning: It answers the question: Which man?


When the relative pronoun is the object of the defining relative clause, then usually, we omit it. We thus convert the defining relative clause into a contact clause.

He’s the boy. I met him at the party.

He’s the boy who I met at the party.

He’s the boy I met at the party.

When the relative pronoun is the subject of the relative sentence, it cannot be omitted.

I talked to the man who owns the shop.

I talked to the man owns the shop.

Whose is never omitted:

That’s the girl whose father is a famous artist

That’s the girl father is a famous artist


The relative pronouns that we use in non-defining relative clauses are:

Who: Albert Einstein, who was a well-known scientist, loved playing the vionlin.

Who/Whom: The man, who/whom I met yesterday, is coming the party.

Which: The African elephant, which is the largest land mammal, is in danger of extinction.

Whose: Mr and Mrs Smith, whose daughter comes to my class, are coming for lunch today.

Where: I would like to travel to London, where my sister is living.

When: She was born in 1969, when the first astronauts landed on the moon.

Non-defining relative clauses provide additional information about somebody or something. They are not necessary in a clause in order for it to have a complete meaning.

Non-defining relative clauses always go between two commas when they are in the middle of the clause.

My mother, who is a teacher, lives in London.

If the non-defining relative clause is at the end of the clause, we put a comma before it.

I asked John, who said he wasn’t going to come to the party.

-Relative pronouns cannot be left out of non-defining relative clauses.

The television, which I bought yesterday, costs a lot of money.

The television, I bought yesterday, costs a lot of money.

In non-defining relative clauses which or who cannot be replaced by that.

The house, which used to be a museum, was built 1000 years ago.

The house, that used to be a museum, was built 1000 years ago.

Complete the sentences with a relative pronoun:

  1. I talked to the girl … car had broken down in front of the shop.
  2. Mr Richards, …is a taxi driver, lives on the corner.
  3. We often visit our aunt in Norwich … is in East Anglia.
  4. This is the girl … comes from Spain.
  5. That’s Peter, the boy … has just arrived at the airport.
  6. Thank you very much for your e-mail … was very interesting.
  7. The man … father is a professor, forgot his umbrella.
  8. The children, … shouted in the street, are not from our school.
  9. The car, … driver is a young man, is from Ireland.
  10. What did you do with the money … your mother lent you?
  11. Everybody was talking about the robbery … happened last week.
  12. We arrived at a nice beach, … we could swim and lie on the sun.
  13. Smithsfield is a small village … people live a quiet life.
  14. What is the name of the prison … Nelson Mandela stayed?
  15. Someone stole my money belt, … contained my wallet and all my documents.
  16. We visited the church … is in the middle of the square.
  17. La Albufera is a protected area of land … you can see a lot of interesting wildlife.
  18. They finally found the murderer, … was hiding in a small village.
  19. Yesterday I met John and Mary, … are my brother’s friends.
  20. Have you seen the new advertisement … was shown on TV last night?
  21. The patient, … had a serious disease, was taken to hospital immediately.
  22. The police followed the criminals, … ran away through the back door.
  23. Ants are small insects … live in big groups.
  24. We have lost the suitcase … we put all our presents.
  25. They found the weapon … was used in the crime.
  26. This dress is made of silk, … is a very expensive and delicate material.
  27. The security guard … was working that night didn’t see anything.
  28. The victim called the police, … arrested the criminal immediately.
  29. I know a person … can speak seven languages.
  30. We left our backpacks, … were very heavy, in the youth hostel.


Grammar time 6

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