Indefinite Relative Pronouns

Pronoms relatifs indéfinis

French indefinite relative pronouns
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Indefinite relative pronouns are connectors: they link relative clauses to main clauses and, unlike normal relative pronouns, do not not have a specific antecedent.

Characteristics of indefinite relative pronouns

  1. Connect relative and main clauses
  2. Can be subjects, direct objects, or objects of a preposition
  3. Are impersonal and therefore invariable
  4. Are required

 If any of the above grammatical concepts are unclear to you, please study those lessons before reading this one.

There are five French indefinite relative pronouns: ce dont, ce que, ce qui, quoi, and quiconque. The first four are the most important and, confusingly, all have the same English equivalents. So which pronoun to use depends solely on the grammatical structure of the sentence.

Here’s a summary of French indefinite relative pronouns with their functions and possible translations – click the links for detailed lessons.

Pronoun Function English equivalents
ce dont object of preposition de what, that
ce que direct object what, that
ce qui subject what, that
(ce) __ quoi object of any other preposition what, that
quiconque subject or object anyone who, whoever

 Relative Pronouns Quizzes

Think you’ve got it? Test yourself on French relative pronouns with these fill-in-the-blanks exercises:

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 Related lessons

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French indefinite relative pronouns

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