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Using Relative Pronouns as Determinatives

Using Relative Pronouns as Determinatives

Traditional notional grammars define the noun as a word that refers to a person, place, thing, or idea. A pronoun is a small word that takes the place of a noun, noun phrase, noun clause, and other grammatical form. Pronouns are a subcategory of nouns. The relative pronoun is both a type of pronoun that take the place of another word, phrase, or clause and a type of subordinating conjunction that introduces an adjective, or relative, clause. 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 determinative is a word or phrase that expresses additional information such as definiteness, proximity, quantity, and relationships about a noun phrase and that differs from an adjective phrase, which describes attributes. Determiners most frequently function as determinatives, but the relative pronoun that can function as the determinative in an adjective clause is whose. Examples of relative pronouns as determinatives include the following:

  • Can you name the actress whose real name was Norma Jeane?
  • The hotel offered the family whose house burned down a complimentary suite.
  • Do you know the boy whose mother is a nurse?
  • Anna, whose husband is working in England, is moving to London.
  • The dog, whose owner lives next door, broke my garden fence.
  • The house whose roof is old belongs to me.

Relative Pronoun as Determinative

Relative Pronoun as Determinative Grammar Tree

References

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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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Written by Heather Johnson

Heather is a writer, librarian, linguist, wife, and mother who loves her husband, children, dogs, and cats. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in creative writing and master's degrees in library and information science and English studies with a concentration in linguistics.

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