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Started February 29, 2012 - 04:21 PM


Relative and Interrogative Pronouns

What is the difference between relative and interrogative pronouns. I was told that "who" is a relative pronoun but that it can also be an interrogative pronoun. How is this possible?

#2 tinroof Replied March 01, 2012 - 06:57 PM


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It depends on how the word is used. If it's in a question ("Who ate the last cookie?") then it's interrogative, but if it's part of a statement ("I'm the one who ate the last cookie.") then it's relative. "Interrogative" and "relative" simply refer to the role it's playing in the sentence - "interrogative" means it's asking a question, while "relative" means it's introducing a subordinate clause linked to a previous concept.

#3 srk2success Replied March 03, 2012 - 12:47 AM


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Relative pronouns relate a group of words to nouns or other pronouns.
1. The person who stole the jewels was sentenced to jail. In this example the word ‘who’ relates the person to the verb (stole).
Interrogative pronouns are generally used in forming questions that require an answer. Interrogative pronouns can also act as determiners (they are called as interrogative adjectives in this role).
1. Who won the race? In this example, ‘who’ is used in framing a question.
2. I know who won the race. In this example, ‘who’ is used as an interrogative adjective.
Thus, ‘who’ is a word that can be used both as a relative as well as an interrogative pronoun.
One of the main difficulties in using pronouns is the choosing between the words ‘whom’ and ‘who’ and between ‘which’ and ‘that’.

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