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Using Relative Pronouns as Subjects

Using Relative Pronouns as Subjects

Traditional grammars define the noun as a word that names a person, place, thing, or idea. Pronouns are a subcategory of nouns that take the place of nouns, noun phrases, noun clauses, and other forms. Relative pronouns 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 (and the relative adverbs when, where, and why).

In grammar, a subject is a word, phrase, or clause that performs the action of or acts upon the verb. Clauses — both main and subordinate — contain both a subject and a predicate. The three relative pronouns that can function as the subject of an adjective clause are that, who, and which. Examples of relative pronouns as subjects include the following:

  • The house that always has a huge Christmas light display is mine.
  • We adopted the puppy that was abandoned at the shelter.
  • The little boy who stole the cookie must report to detention every day.
  • I am upset with the neighbor who ran over my prized flowers.
  • Christmas, which falls on a Thursday this year, is a popular American holiday.
  • My dog, which loves peanut butter, is a Shih Tzu.

Relative Pronoun as Subject

Relative Pronoun as Subject 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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