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B2 - Relative Clauses
POR RRHH Digital, 00:04 - 05 de Febrero del 2014

What level of knowledge is necessary to master a B2 level regarding the use of the Relative Clauses? Here you have a guide:


Defining Relative Clauses:

You can define people, things, places and activities with a relative clause beginning with who, that, which, where, when or whose. The information in the defining relative clause is important for the sense of the sentence and gives essential information about the subject or object of the sentence.


  • You use who or that to define people:
    • As a subject pronoun.

The man who telephones me earlier was my husband.

In this sentence who refers to the subject = the man.

  • As an object pronoun.

The most interesting speaker who we met was Dr Fitouri.

In this sentence who refers to the object = Dr Fitouri.

You can leave out who/that when referring to the object of the relative clause: The most interesting speaker we met was Dr Fitouri.


  • You use which or that to define things:
    • As a subject pronoun.

There is a large garage which belongs to the house.


  • As an object pronoun.

It is the nicest car which/that I have ever seen.

You can leave out which/that when it is the object of the relative clause: It is the nicest car I have ever seen.


  • You use where to define places and activities:

The house where my parents live is near the city center.

If you leave out where, you have to add a preposition: The house my parents live in is near the city center.

Namaste is a greeting where you put your palms together and bow.


  • You use when for times:

The time when I get up is usually around 8 o’clock.

You can usually leave out when in a defining relative clause: The time I get up is usually 8 o’clock.


  • You use whose for possession:

The woman whose children had arrived late was called to meet the director.


Non-defining Relative Clauses:

You use a non-defining relative clause who or which to give extra information about the subject or object of a sentence. Relative pronouns cannot be left out in non-defining relative clauses. Commas are necessary around non-defining relative clauses when written, and pauses are needed when spoken. You cannot use that in non-defining relative clauses.

  • You use who for people:

William Boyd, who has written many books, is one of my favorite authors.


  • You use which for things:

I gave him a glass of water, which he drank immediately.

You can use which to refer back to the whole sentence:

My car is in the garage, which means I will get the bus to work.


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