Relative Pronouns make reference to a noun that has earlier been mentioned in a sentence to provide additional information on such noun or pronoun. Relative Pronouns also connect a dependent (relative) clause to an independent clause to make a single sentence.
1. The boy who won the competition prepared all night.
2. The boy whom I told you about is here.
The purpose of who in the first sentence is to provide additional information about the subject of the sentence( the boy). The particular boy in question is the one ‘who won the competition’ and not any other boy. Who is equally used to join two clauses in the first sentence. These two clauses are;
a. The boy prepared all night.
b. The boy won the competition.
‘The boy’ in these clauses refers to the same person. To avoid repeating ‘the boy’ and to compress the two sentences into one, who is used to join them together, thus, it becomes:
The boy who won the competition prepared all night.
In the same way ‘whom’ in the sentence 3. refers to the object of the sentence (the boy).
1. WHO: Refers to a person who is the subject of the sentence.
I. The boy who won the competition prepared all night.
II. Sandra, who was caught in the act, is my friend.
2. WHOM: Refers to a person who is the object of the sentence.
I. The boy whom I told you about is here.
II. I am not certain whom this book belongs to.
3. WHICH: refers to either an animal or thing.
I. I used to have a dog which I love so dearly.
II. The orange, which we bought at the market, is juicy.
4. WHAT: Refers to a non-living thing.
I. What we spoke about yesterday is true.
II. The secretary won’t tell me what was discussed at the meeting.
5. WHOSE: to show that something belongs to someone.
I. The politician whose party lost at the polls is dead.
II. She apologized to the boy whose bag was stolen.
6. THAT: to refers to a person, animal or thing.
I. I love the dog that runs faster.
II. This is the boy that you saw yesterday.
In some instances, when and where can go as a relative pronoun.
7. WHEN: to refer to time of an action.
I. When you leave for school, make sure you give Mary the letter.
II. I will see you when I reach my mother.
8. WHERE: Location
I. The boy told him where they can find him.
II. Students should not play where the ground is rough.
Whoever, Whatever, whichever, wherever and whomever are regarded as compound relative pronouns.
1. Whoever owns the file should come for it.
2. Whatever goes up must come down.
3. You will reach the park whichever route you take.
4. Wherever you go, always declare your intentions.
5. Whomever you hire will be fine.