Learn to Use the Relative Clause

Sara Carmona

Sara Carmona

August 8, 2023

Langoo teaches you when and how to use the Relative Clause


A relative clause is a part of a sentence. It can begin with which, who, that or whose.

We use WHO when we are talking about people. Example: Employees who feel their absence will not harm the business.

We use WHICH when we are talking about things. Example: A ‘Music Box’ which could store music.

We use THAT instead of who or which. Example: Technologies that caused the death of our Virgin Megastores

We use WHOSE instead of his/her/their. Example: A friend whose company did the same thing.

We use WHERE when we talk about place. Example: I can’t remember the name of the hotel where we stayed.

Important points of the Relative Clause that you need to know:

That is more usual than which in defining relative clauses.

We do not use what in relative clauses:

Example of the incorrect form of use: I’ve never eaten a pizza what that tastes so good!

The correct use of it is: What I wanted was out of stock. I can’t decide what to buy.

When who/that/which is the object of the verb, we can leave it out. 

They didn’t have the shirt that I wanted to buy. / They didn’t have the shirt I wanted to buy.

In the above sentence, that (= the shirt) is the object of the verb wanted.

However, if who/that/which is the subject of the verb, we cannot leave it out.

Do you know the woman who is standing over there?

(NOT: Do you know the woman is standing over there?)

See now some examples:

The receptionist helps clients. The clients visit the company.

The receptionist helps clients who/that visit the company.

I saw the employee. The employee left the company.

I saw the employee who/that left the company.

Let’s go to that restaurant. We ate there yesterday.

Let’s go to that restaurant where we ate yesterday.

I sent you an email. Did you receive it?

Did you receive the email that/which I sent you?

His new laptop doesn’t work. He bought it yesterday.

The laptop that/which he bought yesterday doesn’t work.

I work in an office. The office doesn’t have air-conditioning.

The office where I work doesn’t have air-conditioning.

She is the woman. She started her own business.

She’s the woman who started her own business.

I know him and he is the most interesting person.

He’s the most interesting person that I know.

Did you get the e-mail. The one that I sent you?

Did you get the email that I sent you?

He is the man his laptop was stolen.

He’s the man whose laptop was stolen.

relative clause

You are welcome to comment below your ideas, suggestions and if this explanation has helped you to understand the Relative Clause.

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