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Using Relative Pronouns as Direct Objects

Using Relative Pronouns as Direct Objects

Traditional grammars define nouns as words that name people, places, things, and ideas. Pronouns are a subcategory of nouns that take the place of nouns, noun phrases, noun clauses, and other grammatical forms. Relative pronouns are both a type of pronoun that take the place of another word, phrase, or clause and a type of subordinating conjunction that introduce adjective, or relative, clauses. The relative pronouns in English are who, whom, that, which, Ø (null relative pronoun), and whose (as well as the relative adverbs when, where, and why).

In grammar, a direct object is a word, phrase, or clause that follows and receives the action of a transitive verb. The five relative pronouns that can function as the direct object of an adjective clause are that, whom, which, Ø and informally who. Examples of relative pronouns as direct objects include the following:

  • The dog that you like is up for adoption.
  • The man whom your son punched recently bought an ice cream truck.
  • My boss asked for the report, which I hate writing, by tomorrow.
  • CVS recently recalled the hand sanitizer Ø the criminals stole.
  • The man who you love once broke my heart.

Relative Pronoun as Direct Object

Relative Pronoun as Direct Object Grammar Tree

Relative Pronoun as Direct Object Grammar Tree

References

Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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