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I’m from Korea. It is the way we teach and study relative pronouns “who/whom/which/whose”

We study this through this process. I think that it is right to use number 1 and 2. But I want to know if number 3 and 4 are correct or not. If you find some mistakes or something you want me to know from number 1 or 2, please let me know. And please check the process of number 1 and 2 in order to understand my point about number 3 and 4.

  1. He is the man. / I borrowed the book form him.

    • He is the man from whom I borrowed the book. (very formal)
    • He is the man whom I borrowed the book from. (formal)
    • He is the man who I borrowed the book from. (Informal)
    • He is the man that I borrowed the book from. (Informal)
    • He is the man I borrowed the book from. (Informal)-Best!
  2. This is the thing. I played with that thing.

    • This is the thing with which I played. (formal)
    • This is the thing which I played with. (Informal)
    • This is the thing that I played with. (Informal)
    • This is the thing I played with. (Informal)-Best!

I need you to focus on this from here.
I have found a lot of differences to teach relative adverbs between in America and in Korea. This is the Korea version to understand the use of ‘how’. We understand how is the one of the relative adverbs including “where,when,why” We usually understand something through the process like this.

  1. I like the way. you talk to me in the way.
    [in the way? is it right to use?]
    • I like the way in which you talk to me. (formal)
    • I like the way which you talk to me in. (informal)
      [Is it the way you guys say in spoken English?]
    • I like the way that you talk to me in. (Informal)
      [do you sometimes use 'that'? or never use?]
    • I like the way you talk to me. (Informal)-Best?
    • I like how you talk to me. (Informal)-Best?
      [which one is the best to use in spoken English?]

This is the version from the teacher from America. They usually don’t mention ‘how’ when they teach relative adverbs dislike when,where,why Even some of them don’t say the word of relative adverbs. They just teach “who/which/whose/where/why…” As relative pronouns. They say that ‘what’ and ‘how’ are Not relative pronouns because they cannot come after a noun.

  1. How = the manner in which.
    I still remember how we met.

Two sentences are all of things to explains ‘how’ So… I want to know why they teach the same things in different ways? Which one is correct? To be honest, I’ve never seen anyone teaching ‘how = the manner in which” in Korea. If number 4 is right, I really want to know the process like number 1,2,3.

  • This feels like a lot of questions in one. Can you be clearer on what you're asking specifically? A general point that you want some help with? – SamBC Feb 19 at 21:40
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  1. He is the man I borrowed the book from. To me this can be used in formal and informal settings. It's the one I'd be most likely to use. To make it even more informal, you can change He is to He's

  1. This is the thing. I played with that thing. - Would not use this one.

This is the thing with which I played. - This one sounds strange.

This is the thing which I played with. - Sounds better than the 2nd one but still sounds strange.

This is the thing (that) I played with. - Definitely the one I'd use.


  1. I like the way. you talk to me in the way. - I would never use this.

I like the way in which you talk to me. - Wouldn't use.

I like the way that you talk to me in. - Would not use, because of the word in at the end.

I like the way you talk to me.- Would use this one.

I like how you talk to me. - Would also use this one. Both this sentence and the previous one are very similar in meaning (practically the same).


  1. I still remember how we met. - I would probably never say this in everyday speech (it's not something I say to my friends on a regular basis), but I'm sure it's been said plenty of times before.
  • I see your point about 1. But... I don't understand about your commemt about 2. is it because the word "the thing" sounds strange? what if i changed that word to "a toy" like this. ex) This is my toy which i played with or This is my tody with wich i played. do theses still sound strange? I wnat to know what makes these sentences sound strange... – Sunny Feb 21 at 16:43
  • Actually the use of which and with which makes both sentences sound strange. The use of the thing doesn't sound strange to me at all, and it can be replaced with the toy or the book etc. This is the toy with which I played with doesn't work, but This is the toy (that) I played with works. The word (that) is in () because it doesn't have to be in the sentence. – Bodrov Feb 21 at 16:46
  • I tend to use the word which when it comes to choice. For example, Which one do you want to play with? – Bodrov Feb 21 at 16:48
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    I got it! now I'm getting clear about this! I still have a lot of questions related to this. If so... what's the difference between the toy that i play with and the toy i played with. do you guys use both sentences or only use the one without 'that' if so, what the reason? does it sound a liitle wired? or oldfashioned? – Sunny Feb 21 at 21:19
  • The toy that I play with is in the present tense (you play with that toy now) and The toy that I played with is in the past tense (as in you do not play with it anymore). So if you used to play with a toy/object, etc. you would use the second sentence. – Bodrov Feb 21 at 21:29

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