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UNIDAD 17.

Relative clauses
17.1 Relative pronouns
17.2 Relative adverbs
17.3 Defining and non-defining

Relative clauses

Utilizamos los pronombres relativos para referirnos a un sustantivo (una persona o una cosa)
mencionado antes y al que queremos agregar ms informacin o modificar. Los pronombres
relativos pueden referirse a algo o alguien en singular o plural. Algunos pronombres relativos se pueden
usar slo con personas, otros slo con cosas y algunos con ambos. A continuacin, tienes una lista de los
pronombres relativos.

Pronombre Persona Cosa

that
x x
que

which
x
que / cual

who
x
que / quin

whom
x
que / a quien

whose
x x
cuyo

Grammatical Rules (Reglas gramaticales)

El pronombre relativo se encuentra en lugar de un sustantivo. Este sustantivo suele aparecer


anteriormente en la oracin.

That

That es el pronombre relativo ms utilizado en el ingls hablado, ya que se puede utilizar tanto con
personas como con cosas. Se utiliza para sustituir which, who o whom en clusulas que definen
el sustantivo.
Ejemplos:
This is the book that won the Pulitzer prize last year. (Este es el libro que gan el Permio Pulizer el ao
pasado.)
This is the restaurant that received the excellent reviews in the newspaper.(Este es el restaurante que
recibi excelentes crticas en el peridico.)

Which

Which slo se puede utilizar con las cosas.

Ejemplos:
My new job, which I only started last week, is already very stressful. (Mi nuevo trabajo, que acabo de
empezar la semana pasada, ya es muy estresante.)
The house which we lived in when we were children burnt down last week. (La casa en la que vivamos
cuando ramos nios se quem la semana pasada.)

Who

Solo se puede utilizar who con personas.

Ejemplos:
My sister, who just moved in with me, is looking for a job. (Mi hermana, que se acaba de mudar conmigo,
est buscando trabajo.)
I never met someone who didnt like music. (Nunca he conocido a alguien que no le guste la msica.)

Whom

Whom se utiliza para hacer referencia al objeto indirecto del verbo, pero no lo utilizamos mucho en
ingls coloquial. Ms a menudo utilizamos who en vez de whom.

Ejemplos:
The woman with whom I was talking to was my cousin. (La mujer con quin estaba hablando era mi
prima.)
This is Peter, whom I met at the party last week. (Este es Peter, a quien conoc en la fiesta la semana
pasada.)

Whose

El uso de whose indica posesin, tanto para las personas como para las cosas.
Ejemplos:
That is the girl whose parents got divorced last year. (Esa es la chica cuyos padres se divorciaron el ao
pasado.)
Paul, whose wife just had a baby, will not be at work for a few weeks. (Paul, cuyo esposa acaba de tener
un beb, no ir a trabajar durante unas semanas.)

When and where and why

Estos adverbios relativos a veces se utilizan en lugar de un pronombre relativo para hacer la frase ms
fcil de entender. Estos adverbios se refieren a expresiones de tiempo, lugares o motivos.

Ejemplos:
The university where I teach is an excellent school. (La universidad donde enseo es una escuela excelente.)
Can you tell me when is the best time to call? (Puedes decirme cuando es la mejor hora para llamar?)
Nota: Puede omitirse el pronombre relativo cuando es el objeto de la frase.

Ejemplos:
The exam [that] I took this morning wont be corrected and returned until next week. (El
examen que hice esta maana no se corregir ni se devolver hasta la semana que viene.)
The woman [who] Im dating is a teacher. (La mujer con quien estoy saliendo es profesora.)

Relative Clauses (Clusulas relativas)

Se utilizan los pronombres relativos para unir dos o ms clusulas, formando as lo que llamamos
clusulas relativas. Hay dos tipos de clusulas relativas: las que aaden informacin adicional y
aquellas que modifican (o definen) el sujeto de la oracin.

Non-defining Relative Clauses

Estas clusulas agregan informacin adicional. Se utilizan comas para separar la clusula relativa del
resto de la oracin. No se puede utilizar that en lugar de which o who en este tipo de clusula.

Ejemplos:
My friend Tony, who is an excellent writer, is helping me with my English paper. (Mi amigo Tony,
quien es un escritor excelente, est ayudndome con mi redaccin de ingls.)
The report, which my boss asked me to write last week, still isnt finished. (El informe, que mi jefe me
pidi que escribiera la semana pasada, todava no est terminado.)

Defining Relative Clauses


Estas clusulas definen el sustantivo e identifican a qu cosa o persona nos referimos. No se usan
comas con este tipo de clusula.

Ejemplos:
I wrote the report that you asked for. (Escrib el informe que me pidi.)
She never met the man who saved her fathers life. (Nunca conoci al hombre que salv la vida de su
padre.)
Nota: El significado de la frase cambia dependiendo de qu tipo de clusula relativa se utiliza.

Ejemplos:
The employees who worked long hours completed their projects on time.(Los empleados que
trabajaban largas horas terminaron sus proyectos a tiempo.)
Nota: Slo los que trabajaron muchas horas terminaron los proyectos a tiempo.
The employees, who worked long hours, completed their projects on time. (Los empleados,
que trabajaron muchas horas, terminaron sus proyectos a tiempo.) Nota: Todos los empleados terminaron los
proyectos a tiempo.
What Are Relative Adverbs? (with Examples)
The relative adverbs are where, when, and why. A relative adverb is an adverb that
introduces an adjective clause. Each one has its own role:
Where is an adverb of place.
When is an adverb of time.
Why is an adverb of reason.
A relative adverb is used to start a description for a noun. (This description is called
an adjective clause.) For example:
The seat where we sat last Saturday is still free.
(The noun is the seat. The relative adverb is where. The adjective clause
identifying the seat is shaded.)

I can remember a time when I could eat four hamburgers.


(The noun being identified is a time.)

We do not know the reason why he left..


(The noun being identified is the reason.)
(When the relative adverb why modifies reason, you can omit the
word reason to avoid a tautology, i.e., unnecessary repetition.)
We do not know why he left.
Note: When a noun like seat has accompanying modifiers (here, the seat), it is
known as a noun phrase.

When To Use a Comma before a Relative Adverb


In each of the examples above, the adjective clause (shaded) identifies the noun.
When this happens, it is known as a restrictive clause, and it is not offset with
commas (i.e., there is no comma before the relative adverb). Occasionally,
however, the clause headed by a relative adverb just gives us some additional
information. When this happens, it is known as a non-restrictive clause, and it is
offset with commas. For example:
Let's sit on this seat, where we'll get splashed.
(The noun phrase is this seat. (Note that it is already identified.) The relative
adverb is where. The adjective clause (shaded) is not identifying the seat. It is
just providing some additional information, which is why there is a comma
before where.)

I can remember my nineteenth birthday, when I had long hair.


(The noun phrase is my nineteenth birthday. (Note that it is already identified.)
The relative adverb is when. The adjective clause (shaded) is not
identifying my nineteenth birthday. It is just providing some additional
information, which is why there is a comma before when.)
Non-restrictive clauses are far more common with relative
pronouns (e.g., that, which, who) than with relative adverbs.

Relative clauses: defining and non-


defining
de English Grammar Today

Defining relative clauses

We use defining relative clauses to give essential information about someone or


something information that we need in order to understand what or who is being
referred to. A defining relative clause usually comes immediately after the noun it
describes.

We usually use a relative pronoun (e.g. who, that, which, whose and whom) to
introduce a defining relative clause (In the examples, the relative clause is
in bold, and the person or thing being referred to is underlined.):

Theyre the people who want to buy our house.

Here are some cells which have been affected.

They should give the money to somebody who they think needs the treatment
most.

[talking about an actress]

Shes now playing a woman whose son was killed in the First World War.

Spoken English:
In defining relative clauses we often use that instead of who, whom or which. This
is very common in informal speaking:

Theyre the people that want to buy our house.


Here are some cells that have been affected.

See also:
Relative pronouns
Subject or object

The relative pronoun can define the subject or the object of the verb:

Theyre the people who/that bought our house. (The people bought our
house. The people is the subject.)

Theyre the people who/that she met at Jons party. (She met the people. The
people is the object.)

Here are some cells which/that show abnormality. (Some cells show
abnormality. Some cells is the subject.)

Here are some cells which/that the researcher has identified. (The researcher
has identified some cells. Some cells is the object.)

No relative pronoun

We often leave out the relative pronoun when it is the object of the verb:

Theyre the people she met at Jons party.

Here are some cells the researcher has identified.

See also:
No relative pronoun
Punctuation

Warning:
In writing, we dont use commas in defining relative clauses:

This is a man who takes his responsibilities seriously.

Not: This is a man, who takes his responsibilities seriously.


Nouns and pronouns in relative clauses

When the relative pronoun is the subject of the relative clause, we dont use
another personal pronoun or noun in the relative clause because the subject
(underlined) is the same:

Shes the lady who lent me her phone. (who is the subject of the relative clause,
so we dont need the personal pronoun she)

Not: Shes the lady who she lent me her phone.

There are now only two schools in the area that actually teach Latin. (that is the
subject of the relative clause, so we dont need the personal pronoun they)

Not: There are now only two schools in the area that they actually teach Latin.

When the relative pronoun is the object of the relative clause, we dont use
another personal pronoun or noun in the relative clause because the object
(underlined) is the same:

We had a lovely meal at the place which Phil recommended. (which is the
object of the relative clause, so we dont need the personal pronoun it)

Not: We had a lovely meal at the place which Phil recommended it.

Non-defining relative clauses

We use non-defining relative clauses to give extra information about the person
or thing. It is not necessary information. We dont need it to understand who or
what is being referred to.

We always use a relative pronoun (who, which, whose or whom) to introduce a


non-defining relative clause (In the examples, the relative clause is in bold, and
the person or thing being referred to is underlined.)

Clare, who I work with, is doing the London marathon this year.
Not: Clare, I work with, is doing the London marathon this year.

Doctors use the testing kit for regular screening for lung and stomach
cancers, which account for 70% of cancers treated in the western world.

Alice, who has worked in Brussels and London ever since leaving
Edinburgh, will be starting a teaching course in the autumn.

Warning:
We dont use that to introduce a non-defining relative clause:

Allen, who scored three goals in the first game, was the only player to perform
well.

Not: Allen, that scored three goals in the first game, was the only player to
perform well.

See also:
Relative pronouns
Punctuation

In writing, we use commas around non-defining relative clauses:

Etheridge, who is English-born with Irish parents, replaces Neil


Francis, whose injury forced him to withdraw last week.

Spoken English:
In speaking, we often pause at the beginning and end of the clause:

Unlike American firms which typically supply all three big American car
makers Japanese ones traditionally work exclusively with one maker. (formal)

And this woman who Id never met before came up and spoke to
me. (informal)

Defining or non-defining relative clauses?

Sometimes defining and non-defining relative clauses can look very similar but
have different meanings.
Compare

non-defining defining

His brother, who works at the


His brother who works at the supermarket is
supermarket, is a friend of mine.
a friend of mine.
He has only one brother, and that
He has more than one brother. The one Im
brother works at the
talking about works at the supermarket.
supermarket.

Its hoped that we will raise


Its hoped that we will raise 10,000 for local
10,000 for local
charities which help the homeless.
charities, which help the
The money is intended for local charities.
homeless.
Some of these local charities help the
The money is intended for local
homeless. There are other local charities as
charities. All these local charities
well as these.
help the homeless.

Warning:
The information in a defining relative clause is essential, so we cant leave out the
relative clause. The information in a non-defining relative clause is extra
information which isnt essential, so we can leave out the relative clause.

Compare

A defining relative clause which


we cant leave out; without this
The soldier who had gold stripes on his
information we do not know
uniform seemed to be the most important one.
which soldier the speaker is
referring to.

The tour party was weakened when Gordon Non-defining relative clauses
Hamilton, who played in the World Cup team, which we can leave out:
withdrew yesterday because of a back The tour party was weakened
injury, which kept him out of the Five when Gordon Hamilton
Nations Championship. withdrew yesterday because of a
back injury.

Warning:
We can use that instead of who, whom or which in defining relative clauses, but
not in non-defining relative clauses:

I think anyone who speaks in public is nervous beforehand.

I think anyone that speaks in public is nervous beforehand.

Her car, which was very old, broke down after just five miles.

Not: Her car, that was very old, broke down after just five miles.

See also:
Relative pronouns
Relative clauses: typical errors
What clauses
DEFINITION:

A type of noun clause (or a free relative clause) that begins with the
word what.

In a declarative sentence, a what-clause may serve as the subject (usually


followed by a form of the verb be), a subject complement, or an object. (See
Examples and Observations, below.)

See also:

Wh-Clause
Clause
Cleft
Declarative Sentence and Interrogative Sentence
Delayed Subject
Free (Nominal) Relative Clause

Noun Clause
That-Clause
Wh-Question and Wh-Word

EXAMPLES AND OBSERVATIONS:

"What I want you to do is to go to the Turkish Consulate in Genoa, ask


for the Consul and give him a message from me. Will you do
that?" (Eric Ambler, Journey Into Fear. Hodder and Stoughton, 1940)
"Money was what I wanted. Other people's money." (Harry
Harrison, A Stainless Steel Trio. Tor Books, 2002)
"What I wanted was impossible. It was a wish for the whole affair to
have been imaginary." (Paul Theroux, My Secret History. Ballantine
Books, 1989)
"What I wanted were new experiences. I wanted to go out into the
world and test myself, to move from this to that, to explore as much as
I could." (Paul Auster, "Hand to Mouth: A Chronicle of Early
Failure." Collected Prose. Faber & Faber, 2003)
"What should not be forgotten is that diplomatic and military
strategies must reinforce each other as part of a coherent
policy." (Carlos Pascual, "Iraq in 2009: How to Give Peace a
Chance." Opportunity '08: Independent Ideas for America's Next
President, ed. by Michael E. O'Hanlon. Brookings Institution Press,
2008)

"Please allow Miss Manners gently to suggest that before one attempts
to improve upon tradition, perhaps one should find out what that
tradition is." (Judith Martin and Jacobina Martin, Miss Manners'
Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding. W.W. Norton, 2010)
"What troubles me about becoming Asian American is not that it
entails associating with a certain kind of person who, in some respects,
is like me. What troubles me is associating with a certain kind of
person whose similarity to me is defined on the primary basis of
pigmentation, hair color, eye shape, and so forth." (Eric Liu, The
Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker. Random House, 1998)

FOCUSING WITH WHAT CLAUSE

"We can . . . use a what-clause followed by be to focus attention on


certain information in a sentence (= another form of cleft sentence).
This pattern is particularly common in conversation. The information
we want to focus attention on is outside the what-clause. Compare:

- We gave them some home-made cake, and


- What we gave them was some home-made cake.

We often do this if we want to introduce a new topic; to give a reason,


instruction, or explanation; or to correct something that has been said
or done. In the following examples, the information in focus is in
italics:

- What I'd like you to work on is the revision exercise on the website.
- Isa arrived two hours late: what had happened was that his bicycle chain
had broken.
- 'We've only got this small bookcase--will that do?' 'No, what I was looking
for was something much bigger and stronger.'

We can often put the what-clause either at the beginning or the end of
the sentence:

- What upset me most was his rudeness, or


- His rudeness was what upset me most."

(Martin Hewings, Advanced Grammar in Use: A Reference and Practical


Book for Advanced Learners of English, 3rd ed. Cambridge University Press,
2013)
SENTENCE EMPHASIS AND RHYTHMS

"We can use a clause beginning with what to give extra emphasis.

For example, Rosie says:

What makes me really angry is the claim that foxhunting is a traditional


sport.

Another way of saying this is:

The claim that foxhunting is a traditional sport makes me really angry.

Restructuring the sentence using what makes Rosie sound more emphatic."

(Marian Barry, Success International English Skills for IGCSE, rev. ed.
Cambridge University Press, 2010)

"By changing ordinary declarations into some other form, you can
affect rhythm and emphasis. . . .

"[One kind of transformation that] alters sentence rhythm [is] beginning the
sentence with a what clause:

What [Alfred Russel] Wallace was never to realize was that the mechanism
driving all the geology was, in due course, going to be recognized as the
then entirely unimaginable process of plate tectonics. (Simon
Winchester, Krakatoa, 67)

... Winchester emphasizes never to realize and plate tectonics ..." (Donna
Gorrell, Style and Difference. Houghton Mifflin, 2005)

SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT WITH WHAT CLAUSES

"Notional agreement seems to govern the number of the verb


following a what clause. Consider these Standard examples: What is
her name? What are their names? Here name and names govern
whether what is to be singular or plural. But when the what is a direct
object, the what clause can agree with either a singular or a plural
verb: What I need is names and addresses and What I need are
names and addresses are both Standard, although the notional
attraction from the plural predicate nominatives will tend to make the
plural are the choice. Nearly every other use of the what clause
requires a singular verb, as in What we need to know today is how
much time is left [how many hours are left]." (Kenneth G. Wilson, The
Columbia Guide to Standard American English. Columbia University
Press, 1993)

PSEUDO-CLEFT SENTENCES

"Consider . . . sentences like the following

(8) What worries me is the poor quality of your work.


(cf. The poor quality of your work worries me.)

(9) What she did was (to) tell me off in public.


(cf. She told me off in public.)

Such sentences are called pseudo-cleft sentences. A pseudo-cleft


sentence consists of a subject realized by an independent
relative what-clause followed by BE and a subject complement. A
pseudo-cleft sentence topicalizes a whole clause in which one
constituent--provisionally represented by what--is left to be specified
(focalized) by the subject complement. There are two main types of
pseudo-cleft sentence: those in which what provisionally represents a
participant of the situation expressed by the what-clause (as in (8))
and those in which what provisionally represents a type of situation
(as in (9)). Thus, for example, in (8) the pseudo-cleft sentence is used
to identify the DOER of the situation, as expressed by the original
subject (the poor quality of your work), whereas in (9) it is used to
identify the type of situation brought about by a DOER, as expressed
by the original predication (the 'telling me off in public')." (Carl
Bache, Essentials of Mastering English: A Concise Grammar. Walter
de Gruyter, 2000)