Relative Pronouns

French relative pronouns
Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

Pronoms relatifs

Relative pronouns are connectors – they link relative clauses to main clauses so that you don’t have to repeat subjects and objects. If any of these grammatical concepts are unclear to you, please study those lessons before reading this one.

Characteristics of 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 (except lequel)
  4. Are required in French, though they are sometimes optional in English

There are five French relative pronouns: dont, lequel, où, que, and qui. These are equivalent to seven English relative pronouns and adverbs: that, when, where, which, who, whom, and whose. I can’t give you a nice French relative pronoun = English relative pronoun/adverb list, because the grammar is somewhat different in the two languages, and there are at least two possible English translations for each French pronoun, depending on the context.

Here’s a summary of French relative pronouns with their functions and possible translations – click to read detailed lessons on each one.

Pronoun   Function(s)   English equivalents
  Object of preposition de
Possession indicator
  from which, of which, that
Lequel   Object of a preposition   which, that
  Place or time indicator   when, where, which, that
Que   Direct object   that, which, whom
Object (person) of preposition
which, whom, that

 Relative Pronouns Quizzes

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

Note: You must be logged into your Progress with Lawless French account to take these tests. If you don’t have one, sign up – it’s free!

 French also has indefinite relative pronouns (ce dont, ce que, ce qui, and quoi).

 Related lessons

 Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

French relative pronouns

Questions about French?

 Visit the Progress with Lawless French Q+A forum to get help from native French speakers and fellow learners.

More Lawless French

 Subscribe to my twice-weekly newsletter.

Support Lawless French

  This free website is created with love and a great deal of work.

If you love it, please consider making a one-time or monthly donation.

Your support is entirely optional but tremendously appreciated.

Leave a Reply