Look at these sentences
(a) All morning Lencho — who knew his fields intimately — looked at the sky.
(b) The woman, who was preparing supper, replied, “Yes, God willing.’’
The italicised parts of the sentences give us more information about Lencho and the woman. We call them relative clauses. Notice that they begin with a relative pronoun who. Other common relative pronouns are whom, whose, and which.
The relative clauses in (a) and (b) above are called non-defining, because we already know the identity of the person they describe. Lencho is a particular person, and there is a particular woman he speaks to. We don’t need the information in the relative clause to pick these people out from a larger set. A non-defining relative clause usually has a comma in front of it and a comma after it (some writers use a dash (—) instead, as in the story).
If the relative clause comes at the end, we just put a full stop.
Qu. Join the sentences given below using who, whom, whose, which, as suggested.
1. I often go to Mumbai. Mumbai is the commercial capital of India. (which)
2. My mother is going to host a TV show on cooking. She cooks very well. (who)
3. These sportspersons are going to meet the President. Their performance has been excellent. (whose)
4. Lencho prayed to God. His eyes see into our minds. (whose)
5. This man cheated me. I trusted him. (whom)
Sometimes the relative pronoun in a relative clause remains ‘hidden’. For example, look at the first sentence :
(a) The house — the only one in the entire valley — sat on the crest of a low hill.
We can rewrite this sentence as: (b) The house — which was the only one in the entire valley — sat on the crest of a low hill. In (a), the relative pronoun which and the verb was are not present.
Look at these sentences
(a) She sat in the corner of the room where the rough boys who did not make good marks sat, the corner of the room where there was most scuffling of feet, …
(b) The time when they thought about Wanda was outside of school hours …
These clauses help us to identify a set of boys, a place, and a time. They are answers to the questions ‘What kind of rough boys?’ ‘Which corner did she sit in?’ and ‘What particular time outside of school hours?’ They are ‘defining’ or ‘restrictive’ relative clauses.
Combine the following to make sentences like those above.
1. This is the bus (what kind of bus?). It goes to Agra. (use which or that)
2. I would like to buy (a) shirt (which shirt?). (The) shirt is in the shop window. (use which or that)
3. You must break your fast at a particular time (when?). You see the moon in the sky. (use when)
4. Find a word (what kind of word?). It begins with the letter Z. (use which or that)
5. Now find a person (what kind of person). His or her name begins with the letter Z. (use whose) 71
6. Then go to a place (what place?). There are no people whose name begins with Z in that place. (use where)