11 June 2009

Usage you can use: relative pronouns

The relative pronouns are who, whom, and whose; that and which; and where.

--Use who and whose in reference to persons.

He's the clown who preached for 35 minutes.
The person to whom I complain about long sermons is my 6-yr-old.
DPs are the guys whose sermons are always too long.

NOT: The pastor that preached forever also talked about himself the whole time.

--Use that and which in reference to objects or animals.

The Athanasian is the creed that no mother of a 1-yr-old ever confesses in its entirety.
The gun on the lintel is for untethered dogs which enter my yard.


--Use where in reference to places.

That's the rest stop where we had to get the world's nastiest diaper out of the car.

11 comments:

William Weedon said...

But what if the pastor IS an animal? Can I use THAT then? :)

Cheryl said...

Hmmm, I don't know, Rebekah. I was taught that :that" is applicable to persons OR things. Here's what the Chicago Manual of Style Online has to say:

"A relative pronoun is one that introduces a subordinate (or relative) clause and relates it to the main clause. Relative pronouns in common use are who, which, what, and that. Who is the only relative pronoun that declines: who (nominative), whom (objective), whose (possessive) {the woman who presented the award} {an informant whom he declined to name} {the writer whose book was a best-seller}. Although who refers only to a person (but see 5.62), it can be used in the first, second, or third person. Which refers only to an animal or a thing. What refers only to a nonliving thing. Which and what are used only in the second and third person. That refers to a person, animal, or thing, and can be used in the first, second, or third person."

But my husband would probably be on your side. He had a professor whose pet peeve was people who didn't respect what he termed the "whichness of that."

I think this is one of those questions on which reasonable grammarians may have to disagree! :-)

Glenda said...

Oh sure smarty-pants Cheryl chimes in. ;-)

I'm still lmbo at the fantastic sentence illustrations. I would've learned grammar better if them there sentences would've been in my book. :-D

Rebekah said...

Father William, like this? The pastor that chewed up my couch leg and committed a vile atrocity on the Oriental rug is going back to the pound.

Cheryl, really?! I remember getting reamed up one side for using "that" for persons, and down the other for applying "who" to animals (I think it was moths--you know, "moths who destroy and thieves that break in and steal"). My English teacher must have been friends with your husband's professor. :D

Glenda, someday I'm going to write a whole grammar book just because it amuses me so much to write sample sentences.

Sarah said...

I think the post would have been entertaining yet thought provoking without the pronoun explanations and had us try to guess what the title was.

I fully embrace my occasional misuse of pronouns.

Joy said...

My favorite TV commercial 'round these here parts: Big Sale! Final Day's!

really? you fellas sure you know how to use that thar addin' machine?

Oh, and let's not leave out the nursing home: Assisted Living at It's Finest.

ummm.... yeah, I guess you sound educated enough to care for my grandmother.

No, wait! There's more! Here's some menu items from the *best* Italian restaurant in Jeff City, MO.

pea's and broccoli floret's in a white cream sauce
bow tie's
linguini with clam's in a garlic herb sauce
spaghetti with meat ball's

...I think I lost my appetite!

Joy said...

A thousand pardons. That should be "Here ARE some menu items..."

:-)

Banquo's Ghost said...

Hmm. Good stuff. Thanks.

I am a Lutheran English teacher who is deeply committed to classical education, and the past two summers I have been teaching myself how to diagram sentences. This summer, relative clauses are on my list:

Here are the two best books that I have found regarding grammar:

First, an excellent defense of traditional instruction of grammar:

The War Against Grammar by David Mulroy

http://www.amazon.com/War-Against-Grammar-CrossCurrents/dp/0867095512

Then, the text by Cindy Vitto:

Grammar By Diagram: Understanding english Grammar Through Traditional Sentence Diagraming

http://www.amazon.com/Grammar-Diagram-Understanding-Traditional-Diagraming/dp/1551117789/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244818675&sr=1-1

Blessings.

The Ghost of Beggars All

Liz said...

Thanks! Spent more time in Calc than in English. (Comparing quantities of time as opposed to stating an order in a time-line; than, not then.)

Rev. Karl Hess said...

Thanks for this. I majored in English-Creative Writing (UW 2001). However, we didn't have time for grammar. Instead, I had at least two classes exploring medieval literature through the lens of feminist theory.

Regular grammar review would almost certainly help my preaching.

Rebekah said...

Rev Hess, demand a refund!