Grammar 20 - Relatives
'Saris which are made in Kancheepuram are very popular." - 'Which' is a relative pronoun.

Grammar 20 - Relatives

Sentences form the basic building blocks of the English language and there are many ways in which clauses or sentences can be linked to one another. One group of words English grammar uses to do this is the relatives. In this High English quiz we shall turn our attention to relatives, which are also called relative pronouns.

Relative clauses are introduced by relative pronouns. The reason why they are called relative pronouns is because they relate to the word that their relative clause modifies. Look at this sentence:

‘The lady WHO visited my home last night is my lecturer.’

Here the word in capitals relates to the lady ‘who visited my home last night’ and it is a relative or a relative pronoun. We also notice that ‘who visited my home last night’ is a relative clause.

Relatives are relatively few in number and comprise the words 'who,' 'whom,' 'whose,' 'which,' 'where,' 'when' and 'that.' There are certain rules of grammar to be followed when using relatives. ‘Who’ and ‘whom’ are used in sentences containing reference to persons, as in these sentences:

‘A dermatologist is a doctor WHO treats skin diseases.’
‘Mr Tarapore, WHOM I like very much, is my cricket coach.’

‘Which’ is used in sentences containing reference to things, as in the sentence:

‘What is the name of the animal WHICH is found in Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary?’

‘Whose’ is used when possession is to be expressed, as in the sentence:

'Ramakanth Achrekar, WHOSE disciple was Sachin Tendulkar, is a cricket coach in Mumbai.’

‘That’ is used in sentences containing reference to things or persons, as in these sentences:

‘The team THAT wins the IPL Cricket Tournament will get Rs 15 crore as prize money.’
‘The lady THAT I phoned yesterday was my sister.’

The relative ‘whose’ can be used for things, persons and animals, whilst the relative pronouns ‘where’ and ‘when’ are used with place and time nouns.

The quiz that follows exposes you to the different ways in which relatives are used in English grammar.

1.
Choose the sentence with the correct use of a relative pronoun.
2008 was the year which terrorists attacked Mumbai.
2008 was the year whom terrorists attacked Mumbai.
2008 was the year when terrorists attacked Mumbai.
2008 was the year whose terrorists attacked Mumbai.
'When' is the appropriate relative pronoun. Note that 'when' is used with time nouns. The other options contain relatives which are inappropriate
2.
Choose the sentence with the correct use of a relative pronoun.
Apurith, who was in the US when 9/11 happened, has started his own business which is thriving well.
Apurith, that was in the US when 9/11 happened, has started his own business which is thriving well.
Apurith, who was in the US when 9/11 happened, has started his own business who is thriving well.
Apurith, which was in the US when 9/11 happened, has started his own business which is thriving well.
This sentence has three relative pronouns related to person, business and time noun. The other options have one wrong relative pronoun. Can you find out which?
3.
Choose the sentence with the correct use of a relative pronoun.
Sunil Gavaskar, who was born in 1949, was the first man to score 10,000 test runs.
Sunil Gavaskar, that was born in 1949, was the first man to score 10,000 test runs.
Sunil Gavaskar, whom was born in 1949, was the first man to score 10,000 test runs.
Sunil Gavaskar, which was born in 1949, was the first man to score 10,000 test runs.
'Who' is the appropriate relative pronoun. Note that though 'that' can be used with persons also, in this particular case when commas are used to give additional information we cannot use 'that' for a person. The other options contain relatives which are inappropriate
4.
Choose the sentence with the correct use of a relative pronoun.
Mr Amit Shah, that party is the BJP, is close to the Prime Minister of India.
Mr Amit Shah, who party is the BJP, is close to the Prime Minister of India.
Mr Amit Shah, which party is the BJP, is close to the Prime Minister of India.
Mr Amit Shah, whose party is the BJP, is close to the Prime Minister of India.
'Whose' is the appropriate relative pronoun. Note that this sentence also gives additional information, which need not be relevant to the meaning of the sentence. In this sentence 'whose' is a relative pronoun of possession. The relative pronouns in the other options are not appropriate
5.
Choose the sentence with the correct use of a relative pronoun.
An oculist is a person whom treats eye diseases.
An oculist is a person when treats eye diseases.
An oculist is a person whose treats eye diseases.
An oculist is a person who treats eye diseases.
The appropriate relative pronoun is 'who,' which is used with a person. The other options have the wrong relatives
6.
Choose the sentence with the correct use of a relative pronoun.
My brother, whom is an astronomer, said there would be a lunar eclipse next week.
My brother, which is an astronomer, said there would be a lunar eclipse next week.
My brother, who is an astronomer, said there would be a lunar eclipse next week.
My brother, whose is an astronomer, said there would be a lunar eclipse next week.
''Who' is the appropriate relative pronoun. Note that the sentence has two commas. Usually, additional information is given under commas and if this information is not given the meaning of the sentence does not change. The relative pronouns in the other options are not appropriate
7.
Choose the sentence with the correct use of a relative pronoun.
What is the name of the country where the Taj Mahal is situated?
What is the name of the country which the Taj Mahal is situated?
What is the name of the country that the Taj Mahal is situated?
What is the name of the country whom the Taj Mahal is situated?
The appropriate relative pronoun is 'where,' which is used with a place noun. The other options have the wrong relatives
8.
Choose the sentence with the correct use of a relative pronoun.
What is the name of the ship that sank on its maiden voyage?
What is the name of the ship which sank on its maiden voyage?
What is the name of the ship who sank on its maiden voyage?
Options 1 and 2 are correct but option 3 is wrong.
'Which' and 'that' are relatives that can be used with things. In option 3 'Who' is the wrong usage for a thing
9.
Choose the sentence with the correct use of a relative pronoun.
Silk saris where are made in Kancheepuram are popular all over India.
Silk saris made in Kancheepuram are popular all over India.
Silk saris which are made in Kancheepuram are popular all over India.
Options 2 and 3 are correct but option 1 is wrong.
The reason why option 2 is also correct is because we can omit the use of the relative to economise on words and this is known as reduced relative usage. Option 1 uses the wrong relative
10.
Choose the sentence with the correct use of a relative pronoun.
Sandeep Somesh, whom I met at the match, is an International hockey player from India.
Sandeep Somesh, which I met at the match, is an International hockey player from India.
Sandeep Somesh, where I met at the match, is an International hockey player from India.
Sandeep Somesh, whose I met at the match, is an International hockey player from India.
'Whom' is the appropriate relative pronoun for a person. The other options contain relatives which are inappropriate
Author:  V T Narendra

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