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Using Adjective Clauses for Time and Place April 2nd, 2019

Most of us use “who” to describe a person all the time. “The girl who sits in front of me…” or “The police officer who pulled me over…” are both adjective clauses that give additional details about a specific person. Otherwise, which girl or which police officer are we talking about?  Other very popular adjective clause pronouns — also known as relative pronouns — include whom, that, which, and whose to indicate possession. All of these pronouns are used to talk about people or things. But did you know you can also use adjective clauses to describe time and place?

If you want to describe a particular time, the correct relative pronoun to use is when. Examples include:

  • I will always remember the day when the Dodgers won the World Series.
  • Winter is the season when everything in Boston is blanketed in snow.
  • Valentine’s Day is a holiday when we celebrate love.

Notice that the nouns prior to the relative pronoun are all time nouns — day, season, holiday. These help clue you in to what pronoun should be used. Do you always have to use when? No! You can also use that or preposition + which. Which preposition you use depends on which time word you use. For example:

  • {on + day}
  • {at + time}
  • {during + time period}

If you want to describe a particular place, the correct relative pronoun to use is where. Examples include:

  • The city where I live is about one hour north of Santa Barbara.
  • They live in a neighborhood where there are a lot of young children.
  • The area where most college students like to meet is the courtyard.

Notice that the nouns prior to the relative pronoun are all place nouns — city, neighborhood, area. Do you always have to use where? No! You can also use preposition + which or that. Which preposition you use depends on which place word you use. For example:

  • {at + specific place}
  • {on + names of streets, avenues, etc.}
  • {in + cities, states, countries, and continents}
 
 
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