Nominal Relative Pronouns

Nominal relative pronouns are also known as free relative pronouns are used to introduce a relative clause. Click here to learn!

Nominal Relative Pronouns in the English Grammar

What Are Nominal Relative Pronouns?

Nominal relative pronouns (also called free relative pronouns) are used to connect the antecedent and the relative clause.

English Nominal Relative Pronouns

This is the list of nominal relative pronouns:

  1. what/whatever
  2. which/whichever
  3. when/whenever
  4. where/wherever
  5. who/ whoever
  6. why
  7. how
  8. whom/whomever

What Are Nominal Relative Pronouns Used for?

using 'whatever' as a nominal relative pronoun

Nominal relative pronouns are used to introduce a relative clause that plays the role of an object, a subject, or a complement.
Look at an example:

I know whatever you say.

'Whatever you say' acts an object for the verb 'know.'

It is how you said that.

'How you said that' is the complement of 'it is.'

Wherever you go sounds very important to me.

'Wherever you go' is the subject of 'sounds very important to me.'

Where Are Nominal Relative Pronouns Placed?

Nominal relative pronouns head a nominal relative clause that comes after the main clause. For example:

It is what you thought.

'What you thought' is a complement for 'it is.'

'Who' Is a Relative Pronoun or an Interrogative Pronoun?

The only way to understand the difference between 'who' as a relative pronoun and 'who' as an interrogative pronoun is an antecedent before 'who.'
Look at the example:

who does that vs. the man who does that

'Who' in the first example is interrogative pronoun because it replaces a subject. While 'who' in the second example is a relative pronoun because it describes 'the man.'


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