All you need to know about Relative Pronouns

In this lesson you will learn what a relative pronoun is and when to use them and how to use them correctly.

What are relative pronouns?

Are you still familiar with relative pronouns in English? In English, relative pronouns are the words who, which, that, whom and where. These types of pronouns serve several purposes:

  • to point out clearly the person or thing being referred to 

ExampleThe girl who passed by was my best friend in school.

  • to supply more information about the person or thing being talked about

ExampleThe book that he is reading is very boring. 

To talk about it in grammar-y technical terms, relative pronouns are used:

👉To connect the dependent clause or relative clause to the main clause:

In the sentence The book that he is reading is boring the relative clause is, that he is reading,” and the main sentence is: The book is very boring. The meaning of a relative clause is to modify the item in the main sentence to which the entire relative clause refers – in this case, “book.”

There are two rules in Luxembourgish that make recognizing relative clauses easier than in English:

  1. Luxembourgish only rarely omits the relative pronoun as it is often done in English: The book he is reading is boring. Thus, normally, the relative pronoun will be the first word in the clause, unless it is used with a preposition, which will precede it.
  2. Luxembourgish marks both the beginning and the end of the relative clause with commas.

Luxembourgish relative pronouns

                          Masculine     Feminine         Neutral            Plural

Nom/Acc.        deen                  déi                    dat                    déi

Dative               deem                 där                   deem             deenen

You should learn that

  • The relative pronoun agrees in both gender (masc, fem, neut, plu) and number with the word it refers to. Therefore, if the noun in the main sentence is masculine and singular then the relative pronoun is masculine and singular, etc.


  • The case (nom/acc/dat) of the relative pronoun agrees with the role it plays within the relative clause, not by the role of the word in the main sentence to which it refers.
  • The verb(s) come(s) to the end of  the relative clause

Learn more about the word order in subordinate clauses in this lesson on my blog.

Examples in the nominative case

Den Dokter schafft op der Intensivstatioun. Hien ass ganz jonk

Den Dokter, deen op der Intensivstatioun schafft, ass ganz jonk.

main clause (MC): noun = den Dokter (masc. sing.)

Dat ass d’Infirmière. Hatt huet haut Nuechtdéngscht. 

☞ Dat ass d’Infirmière, déi haut Nuechtdéngscht huet.

MC: noun = d’Infirmière (fem sing.)

D’ Meedchen ass gëschter operéiert ginn. Hatt huet 8 Joer. 

D’Meedchen, dat  gëschter operéiert ginn ass, huet 8 Joer.

MC: noun = d’Meedchen (neutr. sing.)

Examples in the accusative case

D’Infirmière ass sympathesch. Ech hu si gëschter fir d’éischt gesinn.

D’Infirmière, déi ech gëschter fir d’éischt gesinn hunn, ass sympathesch.

D’Fotoen sinn immens flott. Ech hunn d’Fotoen (se) zu Paräis gemaach.

D’Fotoen, déi ech zu Paräis gemaach hunn, sinn immens flott.  

MC: niun = d’Fotoen (plural)

Examples in the dative case

Ech hunn eng Frëndin. Ech hu menger Frëndin e Buch geschenkt. 

       ☞ Ech hunn eng Frëndin, där ech e Buch geschenkt hunn.

MC: noun = eng Frëndin (fem. sing.)

Dat ass de Proff. Hatt huet him e Buch geschenkt.

 ☞ Dat ass de Proff, deem hatt e Buch geschenkt huet.

      MC: noun = de Proff(masc. sing)

📌My learning tip📌

In order to be able to use the relative pronouns with ease in conversations you need to practice a lot, by doing many exercises and also by reading articles (in the news) and underlining the relative pronouns.

Let’s practice:

Underline the noun in the main clause, find the relative pronoun and determine in which case it is.

Ech si bal 30 Joer al a war scho laang onzefridden op menger Aarbecht: eng kleng Firma, e schlechte Salaire an e klenge Büro, an deem et am Wanter äiskal war. Also sinn ech op eng Aarbechtsagence gaang a krut do 2 Offeren, déi ganz interessant waren. Ech hunn de Firmen direkt meng Kandidatur geschéckt. Eng Firma huet ofgesot, bei där anerer schaffen ech elo zënter enger Woch. Ech hu genau den Job fonnt, deen ech ëmmer gesicht hunn.

Check the solution by downloading the PDF and practice  with MORE sentences to translate !

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