A relative pronoun is a type of pronoun that we use to join together two clauses to form a longer sentence. Relative pronouns are words such as that, which, who, whom, whose, whatever, whichever, whoever, whomever, whosoever, etc.
A relative pronoun comes at the beginning of a relative clause. This subordinate clause comes immediately after the noun in the main clause.
- I know the dog that bit my cat.
In this sentence, the relative pronoun is that and it introduces the relative clause that bit my cat. I know the dog is the main clause. The relative clause tells us more about the noun dog in the main clause.
We use that and which in almost the same way as we use who, but they refer to animals and things, not people. There is a difference in using which and who. After which, we can use a verb, a pronoun or a noun. After who, we usually use a verb.
- That was the camera, which cost five hundred dollars. (Before verb)
- That was the camera, which he bought. (Before pronoun)
- That was the camera, which John liked. (Before noun)
The relative pronouns who and whom are used for people, and whose for people and things.
Whom is used to make a statement about human beings. It is used in place of who when it is the object of a verb or when it comes after a preposition or is an object of a preposition.
Whosoever is hardly used nowadays. It has about the same meaning as whoever.
- The preacher warns that whosoever disbelieves him will not be blessed.