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Sunday, May 28, 2023

7 Spanish Relative Pronouns You Have to Add to Your Vocabulary

spanish relative pronouns

Normally if you happen to’re stringing a number of sentences collectively, you’ll must discover a technique to relate them to one another.

That is the place relative pronouns like “that,” “which” and “whose” are available in!

Figuring out these pronouns and how one can use them will take your Spanish expertise to the subsequent degree by introducing a extra pure move to your speech.

This publish will introduce you to 7 completely different Spanish relative pronouns and how one can use them so your sentences join collectively extra easily!


What Is a Relative Pronoun?

A relative pronoun is an expression that refers again to a noun that comes earlier than it, known as the antecedent. Relative pronouns join two clauses and assist sentences sound extra cohesive.

The Spanish relative pronouns are que, quien, el que, el cual, lo que, lo cual, cuyo, cuando and donde, which equate to the English that, which, who(m), whose, when and the place.

For instance:

Él es el hombre que vino ayer. (He’s the person who got here yesterday.)

On this sentence él es el hombre (he’s the person) is the primary clause. For those who simply left it as is, this phrase would make no sense. 

Which man are you referring to? That is the place the relative pronoun is available in: que is ready to hyperlink the primary clause to the second clause, vino ayer. 

The que is ready to make clear who we are literally speaking about!

Listed here are the Spanish relative pronouns:

Pronoun Which means Instance
Que That, which, who El coche que te compraste es muy lento. (The automobile that you just purchased may be very gradual.)
Quien(es) Who(m) La mujer de quien hablas es mi prima. (The girl you’re speaking about is my cousin.)
El que That, which, who La mujer con la que tuvimos la entrevista es Rosa. (The girl we had the interview with is Rosa.)
El cual That, which, who Este es el libro acerca del cual te hablé ayer. (That is the e-book about which I advised you yesterday.)
Lo que What Lo que dices no tiene sentido. (What you say is nonsense.)
Lo cual Which Me gusta el invierno, lo cual para algunos es algo extraño. (I like winter, which for some is one thing unusual.)
Cuyo/a(s) Whose Esta es la mujer cuya hija trabaja en Londres. (That is the girl whose daughter works in London.)
Cuando When No recuerdo el momento cuando te vi por primera vez. (I can not keep in mind the second once I noticed you for the primary time.)
Donde The place Esta es la escuela donde enseñaba mi madre. (That is the college the place my mother used to show.)

Essential Issues to Keep in mind About Relative Pronouns in Spanish

  • You can’t omit the relative pronoun. In English, we have a tendency to depart out the relative pronoun (e.g I purchased the pizza [that] you want), however in Spanish you could all the time embody the relative pronoun.
  • You could preserve family members and prepositions collectively, not like in English. If we have a look at the sentence “The park by which we’re may be very massive,” we all know that in English, you would additionally say “The park we’re in may be very massive.” In Spanish, we can not rearrange the relative pronouns to jot down the sentence in another way. This sentence will all the time be written as El parque en el que estamos es muy grande. 
  • Spanish has extra choices for relative pronouns than English. English relative pronouns are normally reasonably simple as they’re utilized in sure conditions. Spanish, nevertheless, has a plethora of choices in terms of which relative pronoun to make use of. 

Spanish Relative Pronouns

1. Que — That, Which, Who

Que is virtually common in Spanish; it could confer with folks, animals and issues, each within the singular and within the plural.

Though it may be translated as “which” and “who,” que will be higher in comparison with “that” in English due to its universality:

Los libros que encargaste acaban de llegar. (The books that you just ordered have simply arrived.)

El perro que ves allí es mío. (The canine that you just see over there’s mine.)

2. Quien — Who(m)

Quien and its plural kind quienes are used to refer again to folks. These are the Spanish equivalents of the English pronoun “who(m).”

Nearly each Spanish pupil tends to assume that quien works like “who,” and that you should use it in Spanish any time you’ve got a private antecedent, however that’s not fully true.

For those who use it precisely like “who,” you would find yourself having loads of grammatically incorrect sentences. For instance:

El hombre quien amo no me conoce. (The person I like doesn’t know me.)

Sure, this sentence has a private antecedent and the relative quien, but it surely’s not grammatically legitimate in Spanish.

Use quien when you’ve got a one-word preposition (en, con, a, de, sin, para, and many others.) earlier than the relative pronoun and the antecedent is an individual. You could have each the preposition and the particular person, or the sentence can be grammatically incorrect.

Right here you’ve got some grammatically right examples:

Los hombres con quienes está María han venido a verte. (The boys María is with have come to see you.)

Las chicas a quienes regalé rosas son hermanas. (The women I gave roses to are sisters.)

3. El Que — That, Which, Who

El que is nearly as common as que and has a number of varieties relying on quantity and gender: el que, la que, los que, and las queIt may be used with folks, animals and issues and it agrees in gender and quantity with the antecedent. 

Nonetheless, there’s a little distinction between que and the el que varieties. El que varieties require a preposition to look in a sentence.

El que and quien additionally imply the identical factor, however keep in mind that whereas quien wants a one-word preposition (or para), el que could make use of any preposition within the Spanish language.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

El libro del que te hablé es “Alicia en el País de las Maravillas.” (The e-book I advised you about is “Alice in Wonderland.”)

Los niños para los que estamos construyendo este hospital tienen cáncer. (The youngsters for whom we’re constructing this hospital have most cancers.)

Estas son las cosas sobre las que suelo leer. (These are the issues I used to examine.)

4. El Cual — That, Which, Who

The el cual group means precisely the identical factor because the el que group and likewise has completely different varieties relying on quantity and gender: el cual, la cual, los cual, and las cual. We are able to use it with folks, animals and issues, and relying on the antecedent, you’ll have to change the shape.

El cual varieties additionally want a preposition to look in a sentence, so we are able to safely say that you should use the el que and el cual teams interchangeably. 

There are two little issues you must keep in mind:

  • Firstly, el cual is used nearly completely in formal language.
  • Secondly, though each el que and el cual teams work with any Spanish preposition, there’s a tendency to make use of el cual when coping with compound prepositions.

A compound preposition is a straightforward preposition accompanied by one other phrase that’s wanted to clarify the connection. For instance cerca means “shut” however is normally paired with de to make the compound preposition cerca de (near).

It might be unimaginable to say all of the compound prepositions within the Spanish language, however listed here are some examples so as to see the el cual group at work:

Esta es la ventana a través de la cual saltó el ladrón. (That is the window by which the robber jumped.)

Las chicas junto a las cuales está mi esposa son mis hijas. (The women to whom my spouse is shut are my daughters.)

Los coches delante de los cuales has aparcado son de Francia. (The vehicles in entrance of which you’ve got parked are from France.)

5. Lo Que/Cual — What, Which

Lo que and lo cual are neuter relative pronouns, in order that they is not going to confer with any particular masculine or female antecedent (the noun described by the earlier clause), however to a scenario, an idea or a complete sentence.

In relation to their variations, it is vitally easy. It’s a must to use lo que if you don’t have an antecedent within the sentence:

No puedo decirte lo que quieres oír porque sería una mentira. (I can not inform you what you need to hear as a result of it will be a lie.)

For those who already have an antecedent within the sentence you should use both of them, and each can be right:

Llegamos muy tarde, lo cual preocupó a mamá. (We got here again very late, which fearful Mother.)

Llegamos muy tarde, lo que preocupó a mamá.

6. Cuyo — Whose

I’ve included cuyo (whose) on this publish as a result of it’s a relative. Nonetheless, cuyo isn’t really a relative pronoun, however a relative adjective.

And as each adjective in Spanish, it has to agree in quantity and gender with a noun.

However (and please concentrate as a result of that is completely vital) cuyo and its varieties don’t agree with the antecedent, however with the noun they modify. 

Right here you’ve got some examples:

En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme… (In a village of La Mancha, the title of which I’ve no need to think of…)

La casa cuyas ventanas son verdes es de mi hermano. (The home of which the home windows are inexperienced is my brother’s.)

Este es Mario, cuyos libros han sido vendidos en todo el mundo. (That is Mario, whose books have been offered worldwide.)

Not like English, the place you employ “whose” or “which” additionally to ask concerning the proprietor of an object or the relation of an individual with one other, you can’t make questions in Spanish through the use of cuyo. As a substitute, you will want to make use of ¿De quién?:

¿De quién es este paraguas? (Whose umbrella is that this?)

¿De quién son estos libros? (Whose books are these?)

7. Cuando and Donde — When and The place

These two are literally adverbs, however because it occurs in English, cuando (when) and donde (the place) will also be used as family members.

You could keep in mind that cuando and donde when working as relative pronouns aren’t query phrases, so you can’t use the accent mark. Take a look:

No recuerdo el momento cuando te vi por primera vez. (I can not keep in mind the second once I noticed you for the primary time.)

Esta es la escuela donde enseñaba mi madre. (That is the college the place my mother used to show.)

If you need, you may substitute cuando and donde for en el que/la que/los que/las que, a lot as you’d substitute “when” and “the place” for “in/on which” in English:

No recuerdo el momento en el que te vi por primera vez. (I can not keep in mind the second by which I noticed you for the primary time.)

Esta es la escuela en la que enseñaba mi madre. (That is the college by which my mother used to show.)

Easy methods to Follow Spanish Relative Pronouns

The quickest technique to be taught Spanish relative pronouns is to observe them as a lot as attainable. Listed here are some suggestions and sources that can assist you do exactly that:

  • Strive digital immersion. There are a number of methods of doing this, both by yourself or with language studying applications. FluentU, for instance, makes use of quick, culturally-relevant movies made by native audio system together with interactive subtitles to show Spanish. It makes it simpler to identify these relative pronouns (and different parts of the language) when you’re listening to them utilized in context. Plus, FluentU is obtainable on iOS or Android.
  • Learn a Spanish e-book. Studying Spanish books is a good way to immerse your self within the language and also you’re certain to select up on loads of relative pronouns in addition to different vocabulary and grammar ideas.
  • Watch a Spanish film. Not solely are films entertaining, however you’ll be capable to pay attention for these relative pronouns and listen to how they’re utilized in pure speech. 
  • Follow incorporating them into your personal speech. One of the simplest ways to discover ways to use Spanish relative pronouns is to strive utilizing them your self. By talking them out loud, you’ll get a grasp on how they match into sentences. I like to recommend discovering a local speaker to have a dialog with to allow them to offer you suggestions in your speech!


Utilizing family members will make your speech and writing extra fluid, so I hope this publish will assist you take the subsequent step down your highway to fluency!

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