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The Word That Fits - Relatives

Quiz playing is a wonderful way to increase your knowledge of English as a Second Language. Remember that all of our ESL quizzes have titles that are both friendly and technical at the same time… In the case of this quiz you might like to tell your friends about “The Word That Fits” but no doubt your teachers will talk about the “Relatives quiz”! If you hear a technical term and you want to find a quiz about the subject then just look through the list of quiz titles until you find what you need.

In English we use a lot of relatives - such as 'that', 'which' and 'who' - to link sentences, and parts of sentences, together. Unlike in some other languages, we can be fairly free about dropping those words out if the sense remains adequately clear without them.

See whether you can pick the correct relatives in each of these questions; maybe in some cases, the word just disappears!

  1. Pick the best word/s to complete the sentence in good clear English.
    The symbol [~] can be used to mean that no such word is used or needed at all.
    Can you tell me ... ... that funny little man is, ... ... keeps walking up and down?
    We need to establish his identity ('Who is he?'), and meanwhile ~ because we don't yet have his name ~ we point out which man we mean by describing him as the one 'who' is pacing back and forth.
  2. Pick the best word/s to complete the sentence in good clear English.
    The symbol [~] can be used to mean that no such word is used or needed at all.
    It's a funny old sofa, isn't it? We were given ... ... by someone ... ... an old workmate of my girlfriend's used to know.
    The sofa (as the Object of the first blank) could be 'it' (Answer 2) or 'that' (Answer 3); not 'him' (Answer 1) as a sofa does not have any gender in English.
    The second blank could be 'that' or 'who' (or, more correctly if pompously, 'whom'); in spoken English such as this kind of conversation, we much more naturally leave out any of these words, so '[~]' is the best option.
    Only Answer 3 fits within both these possibilities.
  3. Pick the best word/s to complete the sentence in good clear English.
    The symbol [~] can be used to mean that no such word is used or needed at all.
    My sister would be very interested to meet the person ... ... put that great scratch down the side of her new car.
    The back part of this sentence (detailing what person it is that she hopes to meet) is a clause in itself, where the unknown person is the Subject. We can't just leave out any reference (as in Question 2) if the link is that important and active. Answer 2 is right; Answer 3 is also possible, certainly in a spoken context. The fact that Answer 3 uses 'that' rather than 'who', somehow suggests that such a thoughtless person is very slightly less than human. ('Who' suggests a name; 'that' suggests a thing or animal.)
  4. Pick the best word/s to complete the sentence in good clear English.
    The symbol [~] can be used to mean that no such word is used or needed at all.
    'What happened to those papers ... ... I left on the table yesterday evening?'
    Answer 2 is also 100% accurate but perhaps slightly pompous; 'that' (or '[~]' : Answer 3) would be more natural in such an informal conversational context.
  5. Pick the best word/s to complete the sentence in good clear English.
    The symbol [~] can be used to mean that no such word is used or needed at all.
    Her parents do not approve of the young man ... ... she has been seeing in secret for several weeks now.
    This is one of those very unusual Questions where any of the four possible Answers is, in fact, correct. Answer 1 is spot-on grammatically; and from there onward down the scale, the others become less formal ways of conveying this same information.
  6. Pick the best word/s to complete the sentence in good clear English.
    The symbol [~] can be used to mean that no such word is used or needed at all.
    The most honourable thing ... ... you can do now is to apologise and walk straight out of this door.
    These are all possible apart from Answer 2 (which you might hear, but is not standard English). Answer 3 sits halfway between being formal and pompous (Answer 1) on the one hand, and perhaps a little too short and informal (Answer 4). In such a seemingly serious situation, this strikes the best balance, we feel.
  7. Pick the best word/s to complete the sentence in good clear English.
    The symbol [~] can be used to mean that no such word is used or needed at all.
    Nothing ... ... ever happened made the slightest difference to his determination.
    This time, 'that' (Answer 2) or 'which' (Answer 3) are both possible, but the blank answer ('[~]') won't work here because 'nothing' is the subject of the inner clause ('No thing ever happened which worried him').
    It might have been tempting to go for the 'null answer' (Answer 1) after the word 'nothing' ... , but that won't do the job!
  8. Pick the best word/s to complete the sentence in good clear English.
    The symbol [~] can be used to mean that no such word is used or needed at all.
    English is the language spoken daily by most of the people ... ... in the British Isles.
    Answer 1 is in fact, probably, the most natural; Answer 2 is good (and suitable within this Quiz); there is no real need for the Present Continuous form in Answer 3 (why not just say ' ... that live ... ' ?); Answer 4 is really the only non-starter here.
  9. Pick the best word/s to complete the sentence in good clear English.
    The symbol [~] can be used to mean that no such word is used or needed at all.
    The Broadway musical 'The Pajama Game' (Adler & Ross, 1954), features an imaginary Latin-themed nightclub called 'Hernando's Hideaway'. The song ... ... introduces this scene describes it like this :
    'I know a dark secluded place,
    A place ... ... no-one knows your face' (...)
    Two classic Relatives: 'the song which introduces ... ' ' a place where (= in / at which) such-and-such happens'.
    The song itself is great fun ~ even if you happen to be from a Spanish-speaking background!
  10. Pick the best word/s to complete the sentence in good clear English.
    The symbol [~] can be used to mean that no such word is used or needed at all.
    It was one of those days ... ... nothing seemed to want to turn out as we planned it.
    A speaker who has just experienced 'one of those days' might be forgiven for using the short version in Answer 2, but it isn't really as good, and the outer two Answers (1 & 4) are simply wrong, particularly No.4.
    We hope you now have your Relatives under control, and at your fingertips even!
    Meanwhile, we use 'relatives' to mean 'members of your family', too: 'close or distant relatives' (the latter, people like second-cousins), 'long-lost' &/or 'elderly relatives' etc. ~ 'people to whom you are related', we might even say.

Author: Ian Miles

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