Remember, pronouns are words that refer to a noun. Relative pronouns are called “relative” because they are “related” to a noun that has previously been mentioned.
One way to view relative pronouns is to recognise that they combine two sentences that share a common noun. In the following example, the common noun is “café” (coffee)
¿Dónde está el café? Compraste el cafe = ¿Dónde está el café que compraste?
Another way to view relative pronouns is to recognise that they are used to introduce a clause that modifies a noun. In the following example, the clause “I finished last night” modifies the noun “proyecto” (project).
Terminé el proyecto ayer. El proyecto es muy importante. = El proyecto que terminé ayer es muy importante.
The most common relative pronoun, and the one used in the previous two examples is “que”. It can be used to refer to both persons and things, in either the subject or the object position. “Que” is the Spanish equivalent of the English words: who, whom, which, and that.
El chico que es guapo… (person, subject)
Los proyectos que son importantes… (thing, subject)
La chica que conocí… (person, object)
La carta que escribiste… (thing object)
The relative pronoun is often omitted in English, but it is never omitted in Spanish.
El coche que compramos es nuevo.
The car (that) we bought is new.
El programa que miraba era divertido.
The show (that) I was watching was funny.
That is all for today’s post. We will continue delving deeper in the Relative Pronouns and its use in the next few posts. If you don’t want to miss them, subscribe to our newsletter here.