There are often prepositions in relative clauses, and the relative pronoun is the object of the preposition. This means that the preposition can sometimes be omitted.

The preposition is normally placed at the end of the relative clause:

  • Is that the man (who) you arrived with?
  • Do you know the girl (that) John is talking to?

In formal or written English, the preposition is often placed before the relative pronoun, and in this case the pronoun cannot be omitted:

  • The person with whom he is negotiating is the Chairman of a large company.
  • It is a society to which many important people belong.

However, this is unusual in spoken English.


  • The jungle the tribe lived in was full of strange and unusual animals.
  • He liked the people that he lived with.
  • The tree under which they had their picnic was the largest and oldest in the park.
  • To the east of the city was a lake that many people went to on the weekend.
  • It was the river in which the children preferred to swim.