# Relative Pronouns and Adverbs: 3 Important Facts

A pronoun and adverb function on different spectrums of English Grammar. So, one must be wondering how they can go hand in hand. In this article we’ll take a deeper look into some of  the differences and similarities  between a certain sub-type of relative pronouns and adverbs.

## Can relative pronouns be adverbs?

No, relative pronouns and adverbs are different from each other and serve different purposes.

The differences between the two are explained in a question below.

Example 1- She is the person who helped me with my last-minute project.

• In the above written sentence, the word “who” is being used as a reference to the noun “she”.
• Over here, the noun “she” is used in reference to a person.
• Therefore, this makes the word “who” a relative pronoun.

Example 2- This is the bench where I had kept my watch before I lost it.

• In the above written sentence, the word “where” is being used as a reference to the noun “bench”.
• Over here, the noun “bench” as a reference to a location.
• Therefore, this makes the word “where” a relative adverb.

## Why relative pronouns and adverbs are different?

A relative pronoun is usually used in reference to a person or object.

A relative pronoun is usually used in reference to a time or location of a noun.

Sometimes, relative adverbs can serve as relative pronouns as well, depending on the sentence and in what reference it being used.

Example 1- This is the ball that hit me in the face.

• In the above written sentence, the word “that” is being used as a reference to the noun “ball”.
• Over here, the noun “ball” is used in reference to an object.
• Therefore, this makes the word “that” a relative pronoun.

Example 2- It feels like just yesterday when my niece took her first steps.

• In the above written sentence, the word “when” is being used as a reference to the noun “yesterday”.
• Over here, the noun “yesterday” as a reference to a certain time.
• Therefore, this makes the word “when” a relative adverb.

## Similarities of relative pronouns and adverbs

The similarity between relative pronouns and adverbs is that they’re both used to refer to some form of a noun.

As mentioned before, those nouns could be a person, object, abstract concept, time or even location.

Example 1- That’s the family whose house was broken into yesterday night.

• In the above written sentence, the word “whose” is being used as a reference to the noun “family”.
• Over here, the noun “family” is used in reference to a group of people.
• Therefore, this makes the word “whose” a relative pronoun.

Example 2- This extreme heat is the why I am getting so many pimples.

• In the above written sentence, the word “why” is being used as a reference to the noun “heat”.
• Over here, the noun “heat” has a bit of an ambiguous connotation.
• The term “heat” is an abstract concept.
• However, in this case it is being used as the current state of the environment.
• Therefore, here, “heat” serves as a function of time as well as location.
• Therefore, this makes the word “why” a relative adverb.

## Is whom a relative pronoun or a relative adverb

The word “whom” is a relative pronoun.

• “Whom” is a relative pronoun since it will always be used in reference to a person.
• “Whom” cannot be used in reference to time, location, abstract concepts and not even objects.
• Hence, making it a relative pronoun in its purest form.

Example- The second-best student is whom the teacher appointed as class monitor.

• In the above written sentence, the word “whom” is being used as a reference to the noun “she”.
• Over here, the noun “she” is used in reference to a person.
• Therefore, this makes the word “who” a relative pronoun.

## Examples of relative pronouns and adverbs

Note- In the following examples, the written abbreviations mean:-

• pn- Pronoun

## Explanations of relative pronouns and adverbs

#### 1.     Who (pn)- My uncle was the only person who helped me move the boxes.

• In the above written sentence, the word “who” is being used as a reference to the noun “uncle”.
• Over here, the noun “uncle” is used in reference to a person.
• Therefore, this makes the word “who” a relative pronoun.

#### 2.     Where (av)- This desk is where I usually keep my lunchbox.

• In the above written sentence, the word “where” is being used as a reference to the noun “desk”.
• Over here, the noun “desk” as a reference to a location.
• Therefore, this makes the word “where” a relative adverb.

#### 3.     Whom (pn)- She is the person whom I asked for help with my school homework.

• In the above written sentence, the word “whom” is being used as a reference to the noun “she”.
• Over here, the noun “she” is used in reference to a person.
• Therefore, this makes the word “whom” a relative pronoun.

#### 4.     When (av)- Monday is when the event is supposed to be held.

• In the above written sentence, the word “when” is being used as a reference to the noun “Monday”.
• Over here, the noun “Monday” as a reference to a location.
• Therefore, this makes the word “when” a relative adverb.

#### 5.     Whose (pn)- He might be the only person whose all wishes have come true till today.

• In the above written sentence, the word “whose” is being used as a reference to the noun “he”.
• Over here, the noun “he” is used in reference to a person.
• Therefore, this makes the word “whose” a relative pronoun.

#### 6.     Why (av)- Yesterday’s late-night party is why I woke up so late today.

• In the above written sentence, the word “why” is being used as a reference to the noun “party”.
• Over here, the noun “party” as a reference to a location.
• The determiner “yesterday’s” used to describe the time of the party is also a contributing factor in establishing the state of the said party and its consequences.
• Therefore, this makes the word “why” a relative adverb.

#### 7.     Which (pn)- This is a tunnel which also leads to an underground pool.

• In the above written sentence, the word “which” is being used as a reference to the noun “tunnel”.
• Over here, the noun “tunnel” is used in reference to a person.
• Therefore, this makes the word “which” a relative pronoun.

#### Conclusion

Hence, these are the differences and similarities between relative pronouns and adverbs, their functionalities and how their uses are distinguished based on the type of noun they’re referring to.