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Table of contents Chapter 15 15.2.1 Relative pronouns

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Chapter 15: Relative clauses

  15.2.1 Relative pronouns in Spanish - with pronouns referring single elements

With relative pronouns prepositions can be used. In English there are two possibilities - with whom the preposition is put before the relative pronoun; with that the preposition is put behind the verb. With who and which it can have both positions:

The man to whom we were talking in the train was an architect.
The man who we were talking to in the train was an architect.
The man that we were talking to in the train was an architect.
The book to which I was referring is quite expensive.
The book, which I was referring to is quite expensive.
The book that I was referring to is quite expensive.

In Spanish, the system is a bit simpler. The preposition is put before the relative pronoun. Next in line is the article (in right gender and number according to the referred object!) and then the verb.

In Spanish things are different. Prepositions do not require a special declension. The are adapted to
number and gender of the object, which is referred to. The complete overview looks as follows.

 
preposition
+ article            +  relative pronoun           +
verb
 
que
cual
quien
 
el hombre
los hombres
la mujer
las mujeres
por
de
enfrente
delante
encima
sobre
con            etc.
(d)el que
(de) los que
(de) la que
(de) las que
(d)el cual
(de) los cuales
(de) la cual
(de) las cuales
(de) quien



hablamos      


                   etc.

  example
El hombre sobre el que hablamos. = The man (that) we are talking about.
El hombre sobre el cual hablamos. = The man who we are talking about.
El hombre sobre quien hablamos. = The man about whom we are talking.
Los hombres sobre los que hablamos. = The men (that) we are talking about.
Los hombres sobre los cuales hablamos. = The men (who) we are talking about.
Los hombres sobre quienes hablamos. = The men about whom we are talking.
La mujer sobre la que hablamos. = The woman (that) we are talking about.
La mujer sobre la cual hablamos. = The woman (who) we are talking about.
La mujer sobre quien hablamos. = The man about whom we are talking.
Las mujeres sobre las que hablamos. = The women (that) we are talking about.
Las mujeres sobre las cuales hablamos. = The women (who) we are talking about.
Las mujeres sobre quienes hablamos. = The man about whom we are talking.
Las mujeres con quien  hice un viaje por España. = The women with whom I travelled through Spain.
La naranja, por la cual me volví al centro.= The orange because of which I went back into the center.
El libro con el que aprendí Español. = The book with which I learnt Spanish.
La oficina en la que trabajo. = The office (that) I work in.
La oficina en la cual trabajo. = The office in which I work.

  If the preposition has two syllables a construction with cual is used*

La empresa para la cual trabajo. = The company for which I work.
rather seldom:
La empresa para la que trabajo.= The company (that) I work with.
La casa debajo de la cual encontraron el tesoro.= The house under which they found the treasure.
rather seldom:
La casa debajo de la que encontraron el tesoro.= The house that they found the treasure under.

* Did you ever notice that it's obviously the same in English?

  If the preposition has only one syllable a construction with que is used*
La ciudad en la que vivo. = The city I (that) live in.
rather seldom:
La ciudad en la cual vivo.= The city in which I live.
El hombre con el que habla.= The man (that) he talks to.
rather seldom:
El hombre con el cual habla.= The man to whom he talks.

  Some more examples
La mujer para la que yo diseño no es una compradora compulsiva, ni una fashion victim que pasa horas arreglándose.
= The woman that I design for is neither a compulsive buyer nor a fashion victim that spends hours dressing up.

Descubre la nueva fragancia especialmente creada para la mujer para la que todo momento cuenta.
= He discovered the new fragrance especially created for a woman for who every moment counts.

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