Thursday, March 2, 2017

ENGL 3663: Relatives

Relative Pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs

Although relative pronouns are a kind of pronoun, and relative adverbs a kind of adverb, like the conjunctive adverb they also serve a dual function as a sort of conjunctive.

Relatives connect clauses to the words they modify within a sentence.

                The truck which Elvis bought is an orange Ford. 

Which is the relative pronoun; it connected the dependent clause which Elvis bought to the word it modifies (truck).

Relatives have a function both within and without their clauses. Within their clause, they serve as a noun or an adverb in the subordinated “sentence.” Outside the clause, they link to and thus take as an antecedent some noun (almost always) in the main sentence.

The truck which Elvis bought is an orange Ford.

Here, the subordinated sentence is “Elvis bought [it].” So which is clearly acting as an object in the subordinated sentence. It is thus a relative pronoun. As a pronoun, it takes truck as its antecedent. That is also the word it modifies, meaning that this relative clause functions as an adjective.

                The child who won got the tickets.

Here, the subordinated sentence is “[she] won.” The word who, our relative, is thus a pronoun, and it acts as the subject of the subordinated sentence. It takes child its antecedent, and thus functions as an adjective.

Relative adverbs:

                The summer when Lily met Celia was very hot.

Here, we have a subordinated sentence, “Lily met Celia [then],” which shows us that the relative word when is an adverb. Notice that the antecedent is still a noun, and so this relative clause still functions as an adjective.


Interrogatives are sometimes called question words. They introduce both direct and indirect questions. When introducing indirect questions, they function somewhat like relative pronouns/adverbs.

Interrogates are also sometimes called W-words, since they almost all start with W: who, whom, whose, which, what, where, why, when, how.
Direct questions:

                Whose laptop is this?
                What’s for dinner?
                How do I work this scanner?

Indirect questions

                Elvis knew whose laptop it was.
                I wondered what was for dinner.
                I had no idea how to work the scanner.

No comments:

Post a Comment