Tag Archive | Relative Clauses

The Subjunctive in Relative Clauses

The subjunctive is used in a relative clause if the antecedent in the main clause does not exist, is sought but not yet found, or is indefinite.

  • Il n’y a personne qui me comprenne. | There is no one who understands me.
  • Je ne vois pas d’endroit où nous puissions nous asseoir. | I don’t see any place where we can sit down.
  • L’entreprise a besoin de secrétaires qui sachent trois langues. | The firm needs secretaries who know three languages.
  • Je cherche une voiture qui fasse du 100 à l’heure. | I’m looking for a car that does 100mph.
  • Connaissez-vous quelqu’un qui puisse nous aider ? | Do you know someone who can help us?

If the antecedent in the main clause actually exists, the indicative is used in the relative clause.

  • J’ai besoin des secrétaires qui savent trois langues. | I need the secretaries who know three language.
  • J’ai acheté la voiture qui fait du 100 à l’heure. | I bought the car that does 100mph.
  • Voilà quelqu’un qui peut nous aider. | There’s someone who can help us.

Happy learning, and I’ll see you again next Thursday!

A la prochaine…



Relative Clauses with Qui & Lequel

The relative pronoun qui may serve as the object of a preposition. In such cases, it refers only to people. There is no agreement of the past participle in the compound tenses when qui is preceded by a preposition.

  • l’homme à qui je donne le livre | the man I’m giving the book to
  • la femme à qui nous pensons | the woman that we’re thinking of
  • les étudiants à qui j’ai parlé | the students whom I spoke to

Lequel is the relative pronoun that refers primarily to things after a preposition. It agrees in gender and number with its antecedent.









The preposition à and de combine with the forms of lequel as follows:




auquel, duquel

à laquelle, de laquelle


auxquels, desquels

auxquelles, desquelles

  • l’examen auquel j’ai réussi | the test I passed (réussir à)
  • la matière à laquelle je m’intéresse | the subject I’m interested in (s’intéresser à)
  • les bureaux auxquels vous téléphonez | the offices you telephone (téléphone à)
  • les études auxquelles il s’applique | the studies he applies himself to (s’appliquer à)

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

A bientôt !


Que vs. Qui

Another versus post! In this versus post I will be going over the relative pronouns/clauses que and qui.

A relative clause describes someone or something mentioned in the main clause. A relative clause begins with a relative pronoun such as whowhomwhich, or that. The noun that the relative pronoun refers to is called the antecedent.

Here are some examples in English:

The woman who studies a lot Who is the relative pronoun, woman is the antecedent
The students whom we helped Whom is the relative pronoun, students is the antecedent
The computer that I use That is the relative pronoun, computer is the antecedent

The French relative pronouns que and qui are used for both people and things. Qui is used when the relative pronouns is the subject of its clause. Que is used when the relative pronoun is the direct object of the verb in its clause. In relative clauses introduced by qui, the verb agrees with qui, which has the same person and number of the antecedent.

La femme qui étudie beaucoup Qui is the relative pronoun, subject of the verb étudier
Un ordinateur qui est facile à utiliser Qui is the relative pronoun, subject of the verb ȇtre
Les étudiants que nous avons aidés Que is the relative pronoun, direct object of the verb aider
L’ordinateur que j’ai utilisé Que is the relative pronoun, direct object of the verb utiliser

Relative pronouns can never be omitted in French the way they often are omitted in English:

  • L’homme que je connais
  • The man (whom) I know
  • Les articles que je lis
  • The articles (that) I read

When the verb of the relative clause is in a compound tense conjugated with avoir, the past participle agrees with the relative pronoun que, which is a preceding direct object. The gender and number of que is determined by its antecedent. Note that the relative pronoun que becomes qu’ before a vowel or a mute h.

  • Les filles qu’il a invitées
  • The girls whom he invited
  • La robe que tu a mise
  • The dress (that) you put on

When the verb of the relative clause is in a compound tense conjugated with être, the past participle agrees with the relative pronoun qui because qui is the subject of the verb in the relative clause. The antecedent determines the gender and number of qui.

  • Les étudiants qui sont arrivées
  • The students who arrived
  • L’assiette qui est tombée
  • The plate that fell

I hope this was helpful! Do you like these versus posts? If you do, let me know! And also if you like them, please leave suggestions for future versus posts as I do love writing them. Have a great week, everyone!

A bientôt !