When do I use ce qui, ce que, or ce dont?
These relative pronouns work the same as que, qui, and dont, but they can be combined with demonstrative ce and mean “the thing” or “what.” They are used when there is no specific object or subject.
Ce que j’aime, c’est le bruit de la pluie.
Ce qui m'énerve dans les transports, c’est la chaleur en été.
Ce dont j’ai besoin, c’est plus de temps.
→ ce que is the object of j’aime.
What do I like?
→ ce qui is the subject of m'énerve.
What annoys me?
→ ce dont is the object of j’ai besoin de.
What do I need?
What about lequel, duquel, auquel, etc.?
These are called composed relative pronouns because they are used — and sometimes fusioned with — prepositions. They only replace things and not people. They are used to replace an object preceded by one of the following prepositions. Below is a table showing you how to make them work with prepositions:
* relative pronouns which blend in with a preposition.
L’ordinateur est neuf.
L’appartement était bien placé.
Le magasin vend des produits bio.
lequel, lesquels, lesquelles only stand for objects, not people.
Les étudiants sont américains.
The students are American. He works with these students.
To sum up
Here are some combos to add to your list:
That’s it for relative pronouns, don’t forget to check out our exercises!
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