I came across this sentence when reading a blog:

"My aspiration is to have a fulfilling life where, when i am 60 years old, i can look back and feel happy about the richness of it all."

It seems to me where is used as a relative pronoun in the sentence, and probably due to my poor Googling skills, I couldn't find any detailed explanations on the usage of where as a relative pronoun. Could anyone give me some examples?

  • 2
    "Where" is a relative word here. It's not a pronoun -- trad grammar classifies it as an adverb, but modern grammar takes it as a preposition. It is most often used as an adjunct of place, as in "I know a perfect place [where we can relax]". It can also be used with head nouns that don't suggest a location, as in your example.
    – BillJ
    Feb 12, 2018 at 14:33
  • 1
    @BillJ I am not in the position to argue with you Bill, but I think in traditional Grammar it's called subordinate conjunction.
    – Cardinal
    Feb 12, 2018 at 14:48
  • @Cardinal It's usually called a 'relative adverb' : link
    – BillJ
    Feb 12, 2018 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


"Where" is used to introduce a relative clause that describes a certain situation (so you are, in a way, "in" a situation, though not in a physical, literal place).


"I have this condition where my ovaries don't work anymore and I'm not that interested in sex"

"Mental health plays a big role in this feeling where you get stuck thinking ‘I don’t think this is for me,’..."

This might have something to do with how, in English, an emotional state or a situation can be described as a "place" from which one is coming.


— She decided to come from a place of love when dealing with herself and everyone else. (source)

— Whenever I work with clients, my aim is to get them to a place of acceptance – or neutrality – around their body.] (source)

— This was a hard period in my life, but I'm in a better place now. (I feel better, more confident, etc.)

  • So, could I also use "in which" to replace "where? "My aspiration is to have a fulfilling life in which when i am 60 years old, i can look back and feel happy about the richness of it all"
    – Tom Lee
    Feb 13, 2018 at 8:03
  • @TomLee Yes, exactly. You can replace it by "in which"; it will be correct. It's just that "where" often gives the sentence a better "flow".
    – user68912
    Feb 13, 2018 at 12:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .