Relative Clauses 2

Relative Clauses 2

  Prepositions in Relative Clauses  

 Formal Style 

 In formal, mainly written English, a relative pronoun often appears as the object of a preposition at the beginning of a relative clause.

  In this case the relative pronoun will be "whom", "whose", or "which", never "that".

  Since this usage is formal and since the objective case form "whom" formally serves as the object of a preposition, it would be unusual to use "who". 


Object (Human) of a preposition
・I met the man to whom I gave the ticket. (very formal)
・I met the man who I gave the ticket to. (less formal) (In this case, "to who" is unusual)
・I met the man that I gave the ticket to. (informal, spoken English)
・I met the man Ø I gave the ticket to. (in formal, spoken English

Object (Nonhuman) of a preposition
・This is the book about which I told you. (very formal)
・This is the book which I told you about. (less formal)
・This is the book Ø I told you about. (informal, spoken English)

 ・She has a friend on whose judgment she can rely. (very formal)
・She has a friend whose judgement she can rely on. (less formal)

 Infinitive with preposition  

A noun can be followed by infinitive + preposition


・The children had a lot of toys to play with.
・Joey needs a colleague to work with.
・He is looking for a place to live in.
・You have a lot of problems to deal with.

For a vey formal style you can move the preposition at the end of the infinitive clause so it's before the infinitive, but then you have to add which or whom. 




・The children had a lot of toys with which to play.
・Joey needs a colleague with whom to work.
・He is looking for a place in which to live.
・You have a lot of problems with which to deal.


This is not possible when there is no preposition and the preposition remains at the end 


・They had a million things to do.
They had a million things which to do.

・I had another set of clothes to change into.
・I had another set of clothes into which to change.
I had another set of clothes which to change into.

※ For ordinary conversation, put the preposition at the end of the infinitive clause and don't use which. 

 whose, of which, of whom 



a.  Of whom, belonging to whom; used as an interrogative pronoun.


Whose room is this?

b.  Of whom, belonging to whom; used as a relative pronoun.


・This is the man whose dog caused the accident. (=This man's dog caused the accident.)

c. (formerly proscribedOf which, belonging to which; used as a relative pronoun


・We saw several houses whose roofs are falling off. (=The roofs are falling off several houses we saw.)


  A relative clause beginning with the relative pronoun "whose + noun" is used in written English when it is talked about something belonging to or associated with a person, animalor plant


・He's a man whose opinion I respect.
・I know a girl whose mother is a pianist.
A group whose aim is to fund a political party called political funding group.
An unidentified soldier whose body is honored as a memorial.
・He had two elder sisters whose mother was the first wife of his father.
An ancient tree whose curling roots snake deep into the ground.
A flower whose name I do not know.
An Elephant whose best Friend is a Dog.
・She is the giant panda whose name means "peace".

Generally, we avoid using "whose" to talk about something belonging to or associated with athing.

However, we sometimes use "whose" when we talk about towns, countries, or organisations. 


・Thailand has a town whose name has 163 letters.
・Cult, a pejorative term for a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre.
・List of countries whose capital is not their largest city.

In academic writing "whose" is used to talk about a wide variety of "belonging to" relationships. 


・A metatheory is a theory whose subject matter is some other theory. In other words it is a theory about a theory.

・Circulatory system , a biological organ system whose primary function is to move substances to and from cells.

In formal, mainly written English, "whose" can come after a preposition in a relative clause.

However, it is more natural to put the preposition at the end of the clause in less formal contexts and in spoken English.

・Probability is ordinarily used to describe an attitude of mind towards some proposition of whose truth we are not certain. (formal)

・Probability is ordinarily used to describe an attitude of mind towards some propositionwhose truth we are not certain of. (less formal)

・the primeval giant slain by Odin and his brothers and from whose body they created the world: the sea from his blood; the earth from his flesh; the mountains from his bones; the sky from his skull.

・the primeval giant slain by Odin and his brothers and whose body they created the worldfrom : the sea from his blood; the earth from his flesh; the mountains from his bones; the sky from his skull.

 of which, of whom 

 In formal styles "noun + of which" and "noun + of whom" is often preferred to "whose + noun" when we talk about a person, animal, plant, concept and thing. 


・The Assembly is made up of 70 Members, of whom 62 are directly elected in 21 constituencies.

・The institution is governed by a council of twenty-four, six of whom are chosen annually.

・The city has a population of two million, 30 percent of which is Hindu .

・apan demands the return of the four southernmost islands of Kunashiri, Shikotan, Etorofu and the Habomai group, the closest of which is less than 20km off Hokkaido's coast.


We can use "of which", "of whom" and "of whose", but not usually "which (whom)" or "whose", after :

a number (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. ) (the first, the second, the third, etc.)
superlatives (the best, the worst, the highest, the closest, the deepest, the most valuable, etc.)


・Each year the high school produces graduates, most of whom are admitted into universities around China, as well as in foreign countries.
(NOT ~, most whom~, ~, most which~ )

・There were more than two hundred castle towns, half of whose population were samurai.
(NOT ~, half whose~)

 Phrasal verbs in Relative Clauses 

Go over → Phrasal Verbs 

 A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb, a preposition and anadverbial particle.

There are three patterns:

1. a verb and a preposition
2. a verb and an adverbial particles
3. a verb and both an adverbial participle and a preposition 

Adverbial Particle

 An adverbial particle is a part of the verb and depends on it modifying its meaning as a basic verb. In both prepositional or phrasal verbs, the preposition or adverbial particle extend the meaning of the basic verb to create a new meaning.


above, about, in, out, up, down, before, across, off, on, below, behind etc.

・The bomb went off suddenly. ( Adverbial )
(The bomb exploded suddenly.)

・The man went off the stage. ( Prepositional )
(The man left the stage.)

 If the phrasal verb in the relative clauses consists of two words
(a verb + an adverbial particle, such as fill up, go off, point out, pull off…) ,

the adverbial particle is usually not put before the relative pronoun (whom, which).


a verb + an adverbial particle
OK・I had forgotten the name which was later found out is tempura.
NOT・I had forgotten the mame out which was later found is tempura.

a verb + a preposition
OK・These are matters which I have to deal with.
OK・These are matters with which I have to deal.

 If the phrasal verb in the relative clause consists of three words,
[a verb + an adverbial particle + a preposition such as look up to, look forward to, go on with… ]

the preposition is rarely put before the relative pronoun in a very formal or literary style

※Many people avoid this pattern. 


less formal・My brother who (whom) I look up to passed away yesterday.
very formal・My brother to whom I look up passed away yesterday.