French Relative Pronouns II Lequel, Dont

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Lequel, Dont

Here is the video

4. Relative Pronouns as Indirect Objects for THINGS

Lequel agrees in gender with the noun it is related to: Le bureau sur lequel vous avez posé le livre
(bureau is masculine, so the relative pronoun too)


The flower about which I am thinking: la fleur à laquelle je pense

Lequel gots contractions when used with the prepositions “à” and “de”

singularauquelà laquelle
singularduquelde laquelle

Les vacances auxquelles je pense: the holidays about which I am thinking
You need to know the French phrasal verbs to know that here the preposition is “à”: penser à (to think about)

L’arbre près duquel je suis tombé: the tree near which I fell
Près de = near, so the preposition is “de”.

With the preposition “de”, we have two relative pronouns: duquel and dont

Duquel is for things and animals
Dont is for people, things and animals

So, when the preposition “de” is for someone, we use “dont” and when we have the choice (because it is about things or animals) we also use “dont”. As you can see, “duquel” is not used a lot.
So, “dont” is the translation of “whose”, because “whose” is “of who” or “of which”:
Look at my friend whose uncle (uncle of whom)  is a journalist: Regardez mon ami dont l’oncle est journaliste.
We use “duquel”, when the preposition “de” is part of a bigger expression like “près de: near”, “au bout de: at the end of”, “au sujet de: about”, “au milieu de, in the middle of”…

Please, watch the video for more examples.

Relative Pronouns, part I and II

QUIPeople, Animals, Things
The pronoun is subject
(so no preposition)
Indirect Object
QUEPeople, Animals, Things
Direct Object
(no preposition)
LEQUELAnimals, Things
Indirect Object
Don't forget the contractions with "à" and "de"
Duquel is used when "de" is part of an expression
DONTPeople, Animals, Things
When the preposition "de" is alone.

With this table, you will quickly know which French pronoun to use if you are able to say if in English, it is a subject, a direct object …

People /People, Animals, Things /Animals, Things
Direct Object
(no preposition)
Indirect Object
(only with "de")
Duquel for expressions with "de"

Voici le papier avec ... j'ai fait la boîte / here is the paper with which I made the book

La table sur ... vous avez mis les assiettes / the table you put the plates on

Les fleurs ... je pense sont fânées / the flower I am thinking about are wilted

L'immeuble à côté ... se trouve la boulangerie / the building near which is the bakery

Le médicament ... j'ai besoin est cher / the treatment I need is expensive

La personne ... je vous parle est à l'étranger / the person I am talking about is abroad

Le parc au milieu ... il y a un arbre / the park in the middle of which there is a tree

L'usine pour ... je travaille n'est pas grande / the factory I work for is not big

La maladie ... il souffre est grave / the disease which he is suffering from is serious

La famille ... il descend / the family which he is descended

13 thoughts on “French Relative Pronouns II Lequel, Dont

  1. Mar Peterson

    Fantastique!  Je suis prof de francais (americaine) et je comprends tres bien le francais, mais ici c’etait toujours difficile a faire comprendre quand il faut choisir quoi!!  Je vais utiliser votre excellente presentation dans ma classe de francais.  :)

  2. Alyssa

    Thank you very much! You are such a great teacher! You’ve been very helpful to me :) Continue what you are doing! :)

  3. Ed

    You are a great teacher. I have an exam tomorrow and the distinction between relative pronouns is vital…after 4 years of French I finally know the rules!! Cannot thank you enough!

  4. Joseph

    Merci beaucoup monsieur. Your teaching is very clear. You make grammar simple to understand. Your voice is pleasant and your style very gentle. J’apprends le français depuis ma chambre. I`m from Chennai, India. I enjoy watching slides with you !

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