Relative Pronoun ‘dont’

Leçon 34 – Relative Pronoun ‘dont’

The relative pronoun dont replaces the preposition de plus a relative pronoun. Dont immediately follows its antecedent and can refer to either people or things.

Dont is used when the verb or expression in the relative clause requires the preposition de before an object.

  • un professeur dont je me souviens.
  • a professor (whom) I remember (se souvenir de)
  • les affaires dont il s’occupe
  • the business that he’s taking care of (s’occuper de)
  • les employés dont j’ai besoin
  • the employees that I need (avoir besoin de)

Dont is used when de introduces a phrase that modifies another noun. The English equivalent is usually whose or of which.

  • un étudiant dont je connais les parents
  • a student whose parents I know (les parents de l’étudiant)
  • une idée dont on comprend l’importance
  • an idea whose importance/the importance of which we understand (l’importance de l’idée)
  • un auteur dont j’ai lu tous les livres
  • an author, all of whose books I have read (tous les livres de l’auteur)

Notice the word order in the clause introduced by dont. Also notice that when dont is used to express possession, the definite article is used in place of a possessive adjective.


Dont is used with numbers and expressions of quantity.

  • des articles dont j’ai lu quelques-uns
  • articles, some of which I’ve read (quelques-unes des articles)
  • des étudiants dont une dizaine sont français
  • some students, about ten of whom are French (une dizaine des étudiants)
  • trois hommes dont deux médecins
  • three men, of whom two are doctors (deux des trois hommes)

Have an amazing week, everyone!

A la prochaine !

Courtney

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