English 2

Relative Clauses (Introduction + practice)

Let’s take a closer look at the following sentences:

  • I couldn’t hear WHAT they were saying.
  • The man WHOM I saw on the bus the other day is Tom’s brother.
  • James didn’t phone, WHICH is very surprising.
  • My best friend Katherine, WHO happens to go to the same university as me, decided to leave her parents’ house and start living on her own.

All the listed examples above demonstrate the use of RELATIVE CLAUSES. The relative clauses can be (1) defining and (2) non-defining. Here’s the structure:

Some other ways of using Relative clauses:

  • Examples
  • who and which are more usual in written English whereas that is more usual in speech when referring to things:
  • That’s the boy (Ø, that, who, whom) I invited to the party.
  • That is the house (Ø, that, which) I’d like to buy.


1 Complete each sentence using who/whom/whose/where.

  1. What’s the name of the man whose car you borrowed?
  2. A cemetery is a place____________ people are buried.
  3. A pacifist is a person ____________ believes that all wars are wrong.
  4. An orphan is a child ____________ parents are dead.
  5. What was the name of the person to ____________ you spoke on the phone?
  6. The place ____________ we spent our holidays was really beautiful.
  7. This school is only for children ____________ first language is not English.
  8. The woman with ____________ he fell in love left him after a month.

2 Make one sentence from the two. Use who/that/which.

  1. A girl was injured in the accident. She is now in hospital.
  2. (The girl who was injured in the accident is now in hospital.)
  3. A waitress served us. She was impolite and impatient.
  4. The _______________________________________________________
  5. A building was destroyed in the fire. It has now been rebuilt.
  6. The _______________________________________________________
  7. Some people were arrested. They have not been released.
  8. The _______________________________________________________
  9. A bus goes to the airport. It runs every half an hour.
  10. The _______________________________________________________

3 Complete the text with what, which, whom, whose, who or that.

  • My friend Caroline, ____________ had always wanted to live in the country, finally decided to move. She wanted a house ____________ had at least three bedrooms. The first house she looked at was exactly ____________ she wanted – it was an old house with a lovely garden. But her sister, ____________ opinion she always respected, wasn’t very enthusiastic, as she thought the house needed a lot doing to it, ____________ would mean spending a lot more money. Caroline looked at other houses, none of ____________ were as nice as the first one. Eventually, she made up her mind to buy it. When she went to the lawyers to sign the contract she saw amongst the documents the personal details of the woman from ____________ she was buying it. The woman was born on 13th June 1963, exactly the same day as her! That coincidence was ____________ finally convinced her that the house was meant for her.