Relative pronouns can be used quite differently in Spanish than in English, and the fine points of their use goes well beyond what would be expected of beginners. So keep in mind that most of this lesson focuses on the most common usages; as you learn Spanish you will learn other sentence constructions as well. Relative pronouns are pronouns that are used to introduce a clause that provides more information about a noun. Thus in the phrase "the man who is singing," the relative pronoun is "who"; the clause "who is singing" provides further information about the noun "man." In the Spanish equivalent, el hombre que canta, the relative pronoun is que.
Common relative pronouns in English include "that," "which," "who," "whom" and "whose" (although these words also have other uses). In Spanish, by far the most common relative pronoun is que. As can be seen in the following sentences, it usually means "that," "which" or "who."
•Los libros que son importantes en nuestra vida son todos aquellos que nos hacen ser mejores, que nos enseñan a superarnos. The books that are important in our lives are all those that make us be better, which teach us to improve ourselves. •Compré el coche en que íbamos. (I bought the car in which we rode.) •Mi hermano es el hombre que salió. (My brother is the man who left.) Other relative pronouns
As a beginner, you likely won't need to use the other relative pronouns of Spanish, but you certainly will come across them in writing and speech. At this point, you don't need to learn the rules of their usage, but you should recognize them when you see or hear them. Here they are with examples of their usage:
•quien, quienes — who, whom — Es el médico de quien le dije. (He is the doctor whom I told you about.) Conozco a Sofía, quien tiene dos coches. (I know Sophia, who has two cars.) — A common mistake by English speakers is to use quien when que should be used. Quien is most commonly used following a preposition, as in the first...
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