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How to use other relative pronouns like 'lequel', 'duquel', 'auquel', and 'ce que', 'ce qui' and 'ce dont'?

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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.
What I like is the sound of the rain.

Ce qui m'énerve dans les transports, c’est la chaleur en été.
What annoys me in public transport is the summer heat.

Ce dont j’ai besoin, c’est plus de temps.
What I need is more time.


→ 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: 

Screen Shot 2021-07-22 at 12.14.47 PM

* relative pronouns which blend in with a preposition. 

L’ordinateur est neuf. 
Je travaille sur mon ordinateur
→ L’ordinateur sur lequel je travaille est neuf. 
The computer is new. 
I work on my computer. 
The computer on which I work is new.

L’appartement était bien placé. 
Je pense à cet appartement
→ L’appartement auquel je pense était bien placé. 
The apartment was well located.
I’m thinking of this apartment.
The apartment of which I am thinking was well located. 

Le magasin vend des produits bio.
J'habite près de ce magasin
→ Le magasin près duquel j’habite vend des produits bio. 
The shop sells organic products. 
I live next to this shop. 
The shop next to which I live sells organic products.

 

 IMPORTANT:

lequel, lesquels, lesquelles only stand for objects, not people. 

Les étudiants sont américains. 
Il travaille avec ces étudiants.
→ Les étudiants avec lesquels => avec qui il travaille sont américains.
ces étudiants are people!

The students are American. He works with these students. 
→ The students he works with are American.

To sum up 

Here are some combos to add to your list:

Screen Shot 2021-07-22 at 12.15.00 PM

That’s it for relative pronouns, don’t forget to check out our exercises!

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