Function Words



1. The relative pronouns like who, whose, that, which, where, when, etc. These introduce sentence like patters which they subordinate to some element of the main clause (or to the sentence as a whole) (See adjective and noun clause patterns Unit II) They occur most commonly directly after a noun or verb.


That’s the fellow who won the bingo game last night.

I see what you mean.

That’s the student whose book we borrowed.

That’s the place where I was born.

I’ll never forget the day when I first soloed.


They occasionally occur after a preposition.

That’s the man to whom I gave the money.

They’re the people to whose house we’ve been invited.


2. Subordinators that pattern like if, although, because, since, etc. These introduce sentence-like patterns which they subordinate to the verb of the main clause. (See adverb clause patterns unit II) They occur most commonly after the verb (and its objects and modifiers, if any)


I’ll come if you insist.

He bought it, although he couldn’t really afford it.

He stayed home because he had to study.


They may also occur at the beginning of the sentence.

If you come to town, call me up.

Since the new course began, I’ve been very busy.

You will find more about function words here see:

Function Words

Question words

March 21, 2015