Become an Expert in the Usage of French Relative Pronouns
Learning French relative pronouns is an important part of learning French. This guide will help you understand French relative pronoun and use efficiently.
While learning about French relative pronouns, you will read these relative pronouns- lequel, dont, que, qui, and où. These five relative pronouns of French are equal to its English counterpart’s seven adverbs and relative pronouns- when, that, which, where, whose, whom, and who.
In English relative pronouns are sometimes optional, but these are required in French. This article will help you in learning French relative pronouns quickly.
The English equivalents of lequel are that, which and what. This relative pronoun replaces the indirect object and refers to a thing that is after a preposition, including those that are after an expression or verb.
It also has to agree with the number and gender of the noun. The prepositions that it follows are – pour, de, and à.
Here are it’s masculine and feminine, singular, and plural forms, all these means “which” in English:
- Masculine singular – lequel
- Masculine plural – lesquels
- Feminine singular – laquelle
- Feminine plural – lesquelles
Le pays laquelle je songe.
The country about which I’m thinking.
Apart from agreeing with the number and gender, it is also necessary to look at the combination of words, as they create a new word.
- à and le becomes au
- à and les becomes aux
- de and le becomes du
- de and les becomes des
When lequel is combined with preposition à and de, it changes as below:
- à with lequel becomes auquel
- de with lequel becomes duquel’
- à with laquelle remain the same as à laquelle
- de with laquelle remains the same as de laquelle
- à with lesquels becomes auxquels
- de with lesquels becomes desquels
- à with lesquelles becomes auxquelles
- de with lesquelles becomes desquelles
C’est la ville à laquelle je pensais.
That is the city of which I was thinking.
The English equivalents of dont are whose, of which and of whom. This relative pronoun refers to things and persons. Unlike lequel it does not changes its form and also does not have to agree with number or gender.
Voici les robes dont j’ai besoin!
Here are the dresses that I need!
J’ai rencontré un garçon dont la mère est un agent du FBI.
I met a boy whose mother is an FBI agent.
que and qui
The English equivalents of que are whose, who, which and that, and for qui are who, which and that. These French relative pronouns are used for referring to things or persons. Que is used for direct object and qui for the subject or for the indirect object. Qui is also used after pour, de, and à prepositions.
If que comes before a vowel or the word that starts with “h,” then it becomes qu.
J’ai acheté la lettre que ma mère a écrite.
I bought the letter that my mother wrote.
Je cherche une fille qui habite en France.
I am looking for a girl who lives in France.
The English equivalents of où can be when and where, and can also be that and which. It depends on how it is used in a sentence. This French relative pronoun is used as an interrogative or question pronoun. It also refers to the time when something occurred.
Je me souviens de l’année où il m’a rencontré pour la première fois.
I remember the year he met me for the first time.
Dis-moi où est le restaurant?
Tell me where is the restaurant?
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