Relative Pronouns / Pronombres Relativos
Click on the arrow to listen how to pronounce the word in Spanish
A relative pronoun is a word that connects or combines two elements in a sentence standing in a place of a noun. Relative pronouns always refer to the antecedent word.
- This is the book. I edited the book
- This is the book that I edited.
Observe that the word “that” is connecting two sentences: “This is the book” and “I edited the book” The relative pronoun “that”, in the example above refer to the previous word “book”.
In this lesson you’ll learn some relative pronouns in Spanish.
“Que” means who, whom, which and that, thus it can be used to refer to both people and things. “Que” can be used with or without a preposition even when it refers to people. But when the relative pronoun “que” comes after a preposition it always refers to things.
- La niña que estaba en el parque es Laura. (The girl who was in the park is Laura)
- La puerta que está rompida. (The door that is broken)
- El hombre que encontramos ayer, es mi amigo. (The man whom we met is my friend)
“Quien / quienes” mean who or whom. These relative pronouns are used just to refer to people. “Quien” is singular and “quienes” is plural. A preposition or a coma must precede these pronouns. Study the examples below:
- La mujer, quien te dijo la verdad, es mi prima. (The woman who told you the truth is my cousin)
- El actor de quien te hablé, es muy talentoso. (The actor whom I told you is very talented)
“El que / los que / la que / las que” mean which and who and are used in some specific cases to refer to both things and people.
- La profesora, la que es joven, es muy inteligente. (The teacher who is young is very intelligent.)
- El abogado, el que es joven, es muy inteligente. (The lawyer who is young is very intelligent.)
- Las sillas, las que estan rompidas, estan en el garaje. (The chairs which are broken are in the garage.)
- Los libros, los que estan viejos, estan en el garaje. (The books which are old are in the garage.)
“Cual / cuales” means which, whom, whom and they are used to refer to both people and things. “Cual” is singular and “cuales” is plural. Definite articles must precede these relative pronouns. Study the examples below:
- La profesora, la cual es joven, es muy inteligente. (The teacher who is young is very intelligent.)
- Las sillas, las cuales estan rompidas, estan en el garaje. (The chairs which are broken are in the garage.)
- Los libros, los cuales son viejos, estan en el garaje. (The books which are broken are in the garage.)
“Cuyo / cuyos / cuya / cuyas” mean whose. These relative pronouns agree in gender and number with the possessed thing (and not the owner).
- El niño cuya hermana está enferma, estudia en otra escuela. (The boy whose sister is sick, studies in another school.)
- El profesor cuyos estudiantes estan en el parque,es mi amigo. (The teacher whose students are in the park, is my friend.)
- La niña cuyo hermano está enfermo, estudia en otra escuela. (The boy whose sister is sick, studies in another school.)
- El profesor cuyas hijas conociste es Alfredo. (The teacher whose daughters you met is Alfredo)
Observe that in all examples above cuyo / cuyos / cuya / cuyas – agree with the possessed things.