Relative Pronouns

In French, we have relative pronouns such as que, qui, dont, lequel, and où…that link a dependent/relative clause to a main clause.

Qui can refer to people or things and is used as the subject of a dependent clause. Because qui becomes the subject of the sentence it is always followed by a conjugated verb and must agree in number with the antecedent it is referring to.

On critique les films qui montrent trop de nudité.

Que also refers to people or things, but it is used as the direct object of a clause, so que is always followed by a subject and not a verb. Unlike qui, with que you make an elision with a vowel and remove the “e” (see the next example).

L’actrice française qu’il adore s’appelle Clara Ponsot.

Dont refers to either people or things, dont replaces de + an object in a relative clause. Some expressions in French automatically have de attached to it, hence the usage of dont is required here. For example, parler de (to speak of), avoir besoin de (to need), and avoir peur de (to fear).

Le livre dont nous parlons est Les Misérables.

Lequel (and all of its forms) replace a preposition (other than de) and a thing/object in a relative clause. Make sure that the pronoun agrees in both number and gender to whatever it is describing.

Une langue est un prisme à travers lequel ses usagers sont condamnés à voir le monde.

is the relative pronoun that is used to denote a place or a time. It’s most common translation is “where.”

Je me rappelle le jour où il m’a embrassé pour la première fois. .


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s