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  Relative Pronouns
 

Relative Pronouns  Listen to MP3

Relative pronouns join sentences together.  These words signal a relative clause which explains the noun, called the antecedent.   If the relative pronoun is the subject of the clause (a verb immediately follows), use qui.  If the relative pronoun is the direct object of the clause (subject + verb follows), use que. If the verb of the dependent clause requires the preposition de, use dont to replace it. Also use dont to mean whose.  Qui, que, and dont can all mean that or who, depending on the sentence. If the antecedent is a place or time, use to mean where or when. When there is no specific antecedent, ce is added as an artificial one before que, qui or dont; but it can refer to only things, not people.  Ce qui, ce que and ce dont generally mean what.

Je mange des choses qui sont bonnes.

I eat things that are good.

qui is subject

Je mange des choses que j'aime.

I eat things that I like.

que is object

C'est ce que je disais.

That's what I said.

no antecedent

La femme dont le mari est mort...

The woman whose husband is dead...

whose

Voici ce dont j'ai besoin.

Here is what I need.

avoir besoin is followed by de

C'est un restaurant on sert du poisson.

It's a restaurant where they serve fish.

restaurant is a place

 

Dont can also be translated as including or of which. Sept morts, dont 6 civils, dans l'attentat. Seven dead, including six civilians, in the attack.

► After verbs of declaration or opinion (dire, affirmer, prétendre, jurer, déclarer, reconnaître, avouer, penser, croire), you do not need to use a relative pronoun or to repeat the subject. As long as the subject is the same in both clauses, you can replace que + subject + conjugated verb with the infinitive.

Je pense que je peux le faire. = Je pense pouvoir le faire. I think that I can do it.
Elle dit qu'elle le connais. = Elle dit le connaître. She says that she knows him.
Vous avouez que vous avez menti. = Vous avouez avoir menti. You admit that you lied.

 

 
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