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Relative Connectors

Relative Connectors
Activity SmartMemo
Activity SmartMemo
Practise the different kinds of relative connectors we have in English through these Spanish translations.

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1- Look at the sentences and try to express that idea in English 2- Move your mouse over the black button to check your answer. 3- If you were right, click on the green button, if wrong, click on the red.

Relative clauses tell something about a noun which we call the antecedent.
     That man is Kevin. He is talking to your father
     = The man    who is talking to your father   is Kevin
    antecedent   └─┼───relative clause───┘
                    relative connector                              
The man is Kevin, OK, but, who is Kevin? Well, he is the person who is talking to your father. So a relative clause gives us more information about the antecedent (the man).

      I’ve got a book. It’s very interesting
      = I’ve got a book which is very interesting
When the antecedent is a person, we use the relative pronoun WHO. When it is a thing, we use WHICH.
The relative pronoun does two things: it is a connector and it can be the subject or the object of the relative clause (just the same function as the antecedent would do itself).

WHO and WHICH may both be replaced by THAT
      The person who/that comes here first will have it
      The house which/that I want is near here
When there is possession (for both people or things) we use WHOSE.
      The house whose windows are broken is Tony’s
      I met a girl whose name was Molly
When the antecedent is a whole sentence, we use the connector ",WHICH"
      She's always smiling, which is very nice
It means "the thing that", so the antecedent (thing) is included inside the connector
      I told him what he wanted to know (=the thing that he wanted to know)
      I've got what you need

Relative clauses of time, place and reason

When the antecedent is a word of time we use WHEN, when it is a word of place we use WHERE and when the antecedent is the word "the reason" we use WHY. In these three cases the antecedent can be removed.
      Monday is (the day) when I don’t work
      This is (the place) where I grew up
      That’s (the reason) why I hate her


When talking, we often suppress the connector, but we can't always do that.

In this case, it is very often left out in informal English
      I work with a man that you know
      I work with a man you know
      The whisky that you drank at the party is very expensive
      The whisky you drank at the party is very expensive
      The girl you met yesterday is my sister
      Is this the tape you are looking for?


- This is the book which I bought yesterday  (formal)
- This is the book that I bought yesterday  (informal)
- This is the book I bought yesterday  (more informal)
In this case we can't leave the connector out because if you do, the sentence has no subject
      She’s a person who can do anything   (not: She's a person can do anything)
      Everything that happened was your fault
      He’s the man who lives next door
      I have a cat which bit a dog

In English, every verb needs a subject (exept imperatives). Compare:

- The perfume she likes is Channel (The perfume is / She likes)
- The man you saw yesterday lives near here  (the man lives / you saw)
- He is the boy who broke your window  (He is / who broke)
- That is the house that looks scary  (That is / that looks: the 1st "that" is a demonstrative, the 2nd "that" is a relative connector equivalent to "which")


Item Match Comments
Conocía a una chica que se llamaba Molly I met a girl whose name was Molly
Dame lo que quiero Give me what I want
El lapicero que tienes es mío The pencil that you have is mine also:
The pencil which you have...
The pencil you have...
El lunes es el día que no trabajo Monday is the day when I don't work also: Monday is when I don't work
El niño que su padre es médico se llama Mike The boy whose father is a doctor is Mike
El señor cuya casa es amarilla vive en Perú The man whose house is yellow lives in Peru
El whiskey que bebimos en la fiesta es muy caro (colloquial) The whiskey we drank at the party is very expensive also:
The whiskey which we drank...
The whiskey that we drank...
En esa casa es donde vivo That house is where I live
Esa es la razón por la que ella se marchó That's the reason why she left also: That's why she left
Esa no es la música que me gusta That's not the music that I like also:
... the music which I like
... the music I like
Eso es lo que me gusta That's what I like
Esta es la escuela donde estudian mis hijos This is the school where my children study
Este es el sitio en donde me crié This is the place where I grew up
Él siempre viste de verde, lo cual es muy raro He always dresses in green, which is very strange
La casa cuyas ventanas están rotas es de Tony The house whose windows are broken is Tony's
La casa que ella quiere está en el campo (colloquial) The house she wants is in the country also:
The house which she wants...
The house that she wants...
La chica que conociste ayer es mi hermana (colloquial) The girl you met yesterday is my sister also:
The girl who you met...
The girl that you met...
La chica que tiene los ojos verdes es mi hermana The girl whose eyes are green is my sister also: The girl who has green eyes is my sister
La planta cuyas flores son rojas es de plástico The plant whose flowers are red is made of plastic
Le conté lo que quería saber I told him what he wanted to know
Le gustó mucho lo que tú le diste He liked what you gave him very much
Lo que necesitas es amor What you need is love
Los libros que lees son una tontería (colloquial) The books you read are rubbish also:
The books which you read...
The books that you read...
Los niños que están jugando en el parque son mis hijos The children that are playing in the park are my children also:
The children who are...
No comprendo por qué lo quieres I don't understand why you want it also: ... the reason why you want it
Te llevas todo el dinero, lo cual no es justo You take all the money, which is not fair
Tengo lo que necesitas I've got what you need
Tengo un hijo que sabe hablar Italiano I have a son who can speak Italian also: ... a son that can...
Tengo un libro que es muy interesante I've got a book which is very interesting also: ... a book that is...
Tengo un libro que te va a gustar (colloquial) I've got a book you're going to like also:
- ... which you're going...
- ... that you're going...
Todo el mundo lleva sandalias, lo cual aquí es normal Everybody wears sandals, which is normal here
Todo lo que pasó fue terrible Everything that happened was terrible also: Everything which...
Trabajo con un hombre al que tú conoces I work with a man who you know also:
- ... with a man that you know
- ... with a man you know
Trabajo con un hombre que te conoce I work with a man who knows you also: ... a man that knows you
¿Es esta la caja que buscas? (colloquial) Is this the box you're looking for? also:
- ... the box which...
- ... the box that...
Total number of items: 35

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