Monday, March 5, 2018

Relative words and clauses

Relative Pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs

List of relatives: who, whom, whose, which, that*

[Note: The word that has many functions. It can be a determiner (I like that truck), a pronoun (That seems wrong), or a relative (Elvis likes the pie that Ivy made). Look at function to determine which sort of that you are dealing with.]

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

Relatives connect clauses to the words they modify within a sentence.
Relative clauses mostly act as adjectives.

[What’s the difference between a clause and a phrase? A phrase contains no finite verb. (The obvious exception is verb phrases.) A clause contains a finite verb as well as a subject. A finite verb is any conjugated verb – any verb that could be the main verb in a sentence.]

Relative clauses: Examples

                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.
        Elvis bought [which/the truck]

Here, the subordinated sentence is “Elvis bought [the truck].” 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.
                We visited the town where my mother was born.

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

Reed-Kellogg diagramming and relative clauses:

Charlene gave Dilbert all the trouble that he could handle:

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones:

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