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Relative Pronouns

Norwegian basically has one relative pronoun (’som’), although we can also leave it out: ‘Her er plakaten (som) vi fant’. These are the most important relative pronouns in English: who, that, which, whom, what. We can also leave out the pronoun. Here is the poster (that) we found.

Mange klosser med ulike bokstaver. Foto.

Some relative pronouns introduce relative clauses (‘relativsetninger’) which make it clear what exactly the head noun refers to; in the example below which type of teachers. In such cases the clause is necessary. We call it restrictive.

If the relative clause adds extra information about the head; here: all teachers, it is unnecessary. We call it non-restrictive. Compare:

Teachers who have a sense of humour will be chosen. (Only those with a sense of humour...)
Teachers, who have a sense of humour, will be chosen. (All teachers have a sense of humour and they will be chosen.)

Non-restrictive, but not restrictive clauses, should be set off by commas.

Use of relative pronouns

Who and that are used to refer to people, but that should only be used in restrictive clauses. We can leave out the relative pronoun – use the zero form - if it is not the subject in the clause.

  • I met a nice Italian who /that told me everything. (restrictive relative clause)
  • My uncle, who is Italian, told me everything. (non-restrictive clause)
  • He is the actor [Ø] I told you about.

Whom must be used after prepositions, but is otherwise considered formal. Like who it refers to people.

  • We’ll send it to whom it may concern.
  • There were at least fifty people in the group, of whom more than half were immigrants.

Which, that and zero [Ø] (in non-subject position) are used to refer to inanimate (non-living) objects.


Which, preceded by a comma, must be used if the relative clause refers to the content of the clause before.

  • I had run into a situation which/that/Ø I had never experienced before.
  • Courses which are offered on a regular basis attract plenty of students.
  • He decided to quit his job, which surprised everybody.

What fuses ‘that which’ and is strictly speaking not a normal relative pronoun.


Nobody seems to understand what hit them.

When, where and why work as relative markers of nouns that refer to time, place and reason.

  • At times when everybody had given up, Frank persisted.
  • I always prefer places where I can find my way around.
  • She couldn’t see why the others were so upset.

Note: Whose is not a pronoun but a relative determiner because it can only occur in front of nouns. As a determiner it can be used with personal and non-personal heads.

  • John is a friend whose help I can always depend on.
  • You need a car whose engine is strong enough for the uphill climbs

Learning content

Working with Grammar

What is core content and additional content?
SubjectEmne

Læringssti

SubjectEmne

Fagstoff

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    Adjectives

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    Positive, Comparative and Superlative of Adjectives

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    Positive, Comparative and Superlative of Adverb

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    Anticipatory IT OR THERE

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    Definite / Indefinite Articles

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    Capital Letters

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    Concord Between Subject and Verbal

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    Concord

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    Indefinite Pronouns and Determiners

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    How to Work with Instructions

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    It or There

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    About Nouns

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    Capital Letters

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    Nouns

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    Pronouns

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    Verb Tense

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    Who and Which

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    Word Order

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    Word Order

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    -ing Form of the Verb

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    The -ing Form not Used as a Verb

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    S in Endings

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    To Do-Auxiliary Verb

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    To Do, to Be, to Have

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    The Definite Article: The

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    The Indefinite Articles: A/An

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    Prepositions

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    Adverbs

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    Adverbs/Adverbials

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
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    Descriptive Language

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
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    Formal and Informal Language

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
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    Working with Projects - Grammar Checklist

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
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    Interrogative Pronouns

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    AdditionalTilleggstoff
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    Text Cohesion

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
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    Verbal Nouns (ing-form)

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
SubjectEmne

Oppgaver og aktiviteter

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    Can you find the adjectives?

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    Adverb or Adjective

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    Articles (More Advanced)

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    Basic Grammar Terms - Drag and Drop

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    Concord, 2

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    Ing-form or Infinitive, Translation

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    Ing-form or Infinitive

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    It or There, Translation

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    Choose between It and There

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Nouns, Plural or Singular

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Nouns, Translation

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Plural or Singular

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    Plural, Singular or Uncountable?

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    Countables and Uncountables

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    Proper Nouns and Common Nouns 1

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    Proper nouns and common nouns 2

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Task 1: Prepositions

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    Task 2: Prepositions

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Reflexive Pronouns

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    Who or Which?

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    Possessive Pronoun Quiz

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    Pronouns, Translation

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    Relative Pronouns 1

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    The Present Continuous (-ing)

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    Verbs: is or are?

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    Conjugate These Verbs

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    Word Order Tasks

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    Word Class, Drag and Drop

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    Task: Was or Were?

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    Irregular verbs

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    Tasks: Concord

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    Ing-form or the Infinitive?

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    Task: Fill in the Adverbs

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    Can you find the nouns?

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    Match Idioms, English - Norwegian

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    Choose Between It and There

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    Has or Have?

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    Capitalize or not when used within a sentence?

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
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  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Homonyms (spelled alike)

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
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    Pronouns, Advanced

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    Relative Pronouns 2

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
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    Tricky Words in English - (Spelling)

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
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    Some or Any

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Styles of Writing - Tasks

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Phrasal Verbs

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
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    Phrasal Verbs, Multiple Choice

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
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  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Phrasal Verbs, Find Synonyms

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
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  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Vocabulary

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    Restrictive relative clause or not?

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
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    Noun, Verb, Adjective or Adverb?

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
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    Nouns: Test your knowledge

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
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    Confusables

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Idioms - Multiple Choice

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
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    Choose the correct preposition 3

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
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  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Choose the Correct Preposition

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Choose the Correct Preposition

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Adverb or Adjective

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff