Hello, Mr. Mckane.
(1) Please do not feel bad that this matter confuses you, for
it also confuses the experts who write books and dictionaries.
Of course, it really confuses me.
(a) For example, you say that the most respected Oxford English
Dictionary calls it a conjunction. Some
other dictionaries and grammar books prefer to call where a
so-called relative adverb.
(i) relative adverb -- relative because it "relates" one part of the
sentence to the other part; adverb because it serves as an adverb
in the second part.
(2) According to my books, your first two sentences are analyzed as:
This / is (linking verb) / where I live (noun clause that serves as a
subject complement). That is, it refers to the subject This. Your
dictionary calls where a conjunction. Fine. It does connect the
two parts, so I guess "conjunction" is OK. But where also serves as
as an adverb modifying live. That's why some people prefer to
call it a relative adverb. *** Same analysis for "That / is/ where you are
I like your last two sentences because they are "easier." I think most
books agree that this time where is, indeed, a relative adverb:
...countries where people drive on the left. As you can see, where clearly
refers to countries. My favorite book says that where is just a substitute
for in which: countries in which people drive on the left. *** Same
analysis for ...to Paris, where [in which] we lived for six years. (Where
modifies the verbs drive and lived.) (Where people drive on the left is an
adjective clause modifying countries; Where we lived for six years is an
adjective clause modifying Paris.)
P. S. To make things even more confusing, some books say that your
sentence This is where I live is just a short way to say this is the place
where I live. In that case, where would be a relative adverb for sure.
But without a place, it would --according to your dictionary -- be a
P.P.S. Maybe the best way to understand the difference between its use
as a so-called conjunction and a relative adverb is to post one sentence
with where and ask what part of speech it is in that particular sentence.
I am sure that you will receive many interesting answers. Keep posting
one sentence each day until you feel confident that you understand the