[1] "That picture was taken in the park where I used to play." (Here, 'where' is an relative adverb.

[2] "I remember the day when we first met." (Here, 'when' is an relative adverb.)

Source : https://www.ef.com/ca/english-resources/english-grammar/relative-adverbs/

[3] "Grandma remembers a time when radio shows were popular." (Here, 'when' is a relative pronoun.)

[4] "I want to visit the island where my grandma was born." (Here, 'where' is a relative pronoun.)

Source : https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/parts-of-speech/pronouns/relative-pronoun.html

It seems to be confusing that "when" and "where" are relative adverbs in sentence [1] & [2] while they're relative pronouns in sentence [3] and [4].

How can we determine whether "when" and "where" are relativel pronouns or relative adverbs?

  • 4
    Does this answer your question? Why: a relative adverb, a conjunction ... or both? John Lawler looks at all the 'Wh-words'. Commented May 16, 2020 at 14:41
  • 1
    "When" and "where" are certainly not pronouns -- that would be an impossible analysis. Traditional grammar classifies them as adverbs, which I think is good enough for your purposes. The most important thing is that "where" and "when" function in the relative clause as adjuncts of place or time respectively, hence their classification as adverbs.
    – BillJ
    Commented May 16, 2020 at 14:56
  • Okay, but it means the definition given by yourdictionary.com is wrong. I also think that they're not relative pronouns; they are relative adverbs. Commented May 16, 2020 at 15:03
  • Yes, it is mistaken in saying that sometimes the relative adverbs "where" and "when" can also be used as relative pronouns -- that is a ridiculous claim. Adverb and pronoun are distinct word classes -- a word cannot belong to both at the same time in any given phrase or clause.
    – BillJ
    Commented May 16, 2020 at 16:01
  • 1
    Of course you need to correctly identify word classes (parts of speech), especially as you would have to use them as labels in a tree diagram. The website you provided a link to is undoubtedly mistaken: the wh words you cite are all adverbs for your purposes, and their function is that of adjunct of place / time.
    – BillJ
    Commented May 17, 2020 at 8:58