French Relative Pronouns

The French Relative Pronouns introduces a clause within the sentence

The French Relative Pronouns are

English pronouns French pronouns
Who, which, that Qui
What Ce qui
of whom, whose De qui
To whom A qui
Of whom, of which, whose Dont
That of which Ce don’t
That of which Ce á quoi
Whom, which, that Que
What Ce que
Which Lequel
Of which, whose Duquel
To which Auquel

Que and ce que become qu’ and ce qu’ before a vowel
Qui and ce qui never change

Le client que tu voulais voir est lá – The customer (that/who) you wanted to see is here

French Relative Pronouns
Qui and que

Qui is the subject of the clause it introduces, followed by a verb, possibility preceded by ne and/or an object pronoun
Que is the direct object, followed by a subject noun or pronoun

La femme qui parle – The woman who is speaking
La femme que tu connais – The woman (that) you know

Que is an infinitive depending on that verb

La femme que tu espères épouser – The woman that you hope to marry

After que, the noun and the verb are often inverted

Voilà la liste que réclame l’inspecteur – Here’s the list the inspector is asking for
Voilà la liste que vous demandez – Here’s the list you’re asking for
Voilà la liste que l’inspecteur a demandée hier – Here’s the list the inspector asked for yesterday

Que can also be a conjunction meaning that

J’espère que tu te portes bien – I hope (that) you are well
Il est plus grand que toi – He’s bigger than you
Que dis tu? – What are you saying?

Lequel can be sometimes instead of qui/que

J’ai écrit au père de sa femme, lequel est très riche – I’ve written to his wife father, who is very rich

French Relative Pronouns after prepositions

After prepositions, que is used for people
So with / without / under whom is avec / sans / sous qui

La femme avec qui je parle – The woman to whom I’m speaking (that I’m speaking to)

After parmi (among) and entre (between), lesquels/lesquelles is used instead of qui for people

Les mineurs parmi lesquels tu vis – The miners among whom you live

De+qui becomes don’t (whose, of whom)

Voilà l’homme don’t tu as volé la voiture – There’s the man whose car you stole
L’homme don’t tu as besoin – The man you need (= of whom you have need)
Le pays don’t je parle – The country I’m speaking of
La voiture don’t il a volé la radio – The car whose radio he stole

Other French Relative Pronouns
Ce qui, ce que, ce don’t, ce à quoi

What as a relative is ce que or ce qui
Ce qui being the subject from
Ce que being the object form

Je ne comprend pas ce que tu dis – I don’t understand what you’re saying
Ce qui est difficile, c’est de jouer de la cornemuse – What’s difficult is playing the bagpipes

Ce qui and ce que are used instead of qui and que after tout (all, everything)

Tout ce que tu dis est incompréhensible – Everything (that you say) is incomprehensible

Ce qui and ce que can also mean which

Il va jouer de la cornemuse, ce qui est très difficile – He’s going to play the bagpipes, which is very difficult
Je lui ai tout expliqué, sans quoi il aurait été vraiment faché – I’ve explained everything to him, without which he would have been very angry

What as a French Relative Pronouns is ce à quoi or ce don’t

Ce à quoi je pense, c’est d’aller jouer à la pétanque – What I’m thinking of is going to play pétanque
Je peux t’envoyer ce don’t tu as besoin – I can send you what you need (what you have need of).
Je ne comprend pas ce don’t tu parles – I don’t understand what you’re talking about

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