Grammar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relative Pronous: Subject or Object?

By now you can surely identify the subject of a clause. Basically,

Exceptions to this rule are rare. Occassionally, however, you may encounter a sentence which starts with the predicate (object, complement, or verb).

Such sentences make you sound like Yoda from the movie Star Wars.

Yoda sounds like Yoda because he often puts the end of the sentence first.

Now, back to relative pronouns.

Relative pronouns are weird, because sometimes they function as the subject of a clause, while at other times they function as the object.

Let's look at some examples:

In the first sentence, "that" is the subject of the adjective clause.

main clause

subordinate
adjective clause

We bought a house that is 200 years old

S
We

V
bought
O
a house
S
the house
=
is
C
200 years old

Our analysis tells us:

But now let's examine the second sentence:

main clause

subordinate
adjective clause

She loved the chocolate that I bought

S
She

V
loved
O
the chocolate
O
the chocolate
S
I
V
bought

In this case, something weird is going on:

And that's why the adjective clause sounds like something Yoda might say:

To see the clause more clearly, we could put the subject back at the beginning:

If you're a native English speaker, you hardly need to worry about such things. Adjective clauses sound natural to you, and there's no need to over-analyze the function of the pronoun.

But occassionally, you do have to pay attention. (We will learn why in the next lesson).

For now, just be aware that relative pronouns can sometimes serve as the subject of a clause, while at other terms they serve as the object.

Here are a few more examples:

Relative pronouns that serve as the subject:

Relative pronouns that serve as the object.

Instructions for the Quiz

Each sentence in the quiz includes an adjective clause that starts with the relative pronoun "that".

Your job is to identify the function of "that" within the adjective clause. In other words, is the word "that"

Quiz