Categories: French Grammar

French Relative Pronouns III, ce que, ce qui, ce dont

French Relative Pronouns III, ce que, ce qui, ce dont

Here is the VIDEO

1 – Ce que, ce qui

Translation of what, which as relative pronouns

In the previous lesson we learnt how to translate sentences like:

The man who is near the door

You remember that, we translate ‘who’ by “qui”.

The reason is that ‘who’ refers to a noun in the sentence, it refers to ‘the man’.

The house that I can see

Again, here because ‘that’ refers to something in the sentence (the house), the translation is “que”.

So, when do we use “ce que” or “ce qui”? when the pronoun relative what, which refers to no noun in the sentence:

What I love is a good meal.

In this sentence ‘what’ refers to no noun and is followed by a subject (I), so in French, it is “ce que”: Ce que j’aime, c’est un bon repas.

What interests me are holidays.

Again ‘what’ does not refer to anything in this sentence and is the subject of the first part , in this case we use “ce qui”: Ce qui m’intéresse c’est les vacances.

So we use “ce que” to translate what, who etc when the pronoun refers to nothing and is not the subject of the sentence. And we use “ce qui” when the pronoun refers to nothing and is the subject of the sentence.

2. More examples:

Do you know what I would like?

What refers to nothing and is not the subject of the verb would like so: ce que

Sais-tu ce que je voudrais?

He took what I said quite well: Il a bien pris ce que je lui ai dit

I told him what I really thought: je lui ai dit ce que je pensais vraiment

It means exactly what it says: ça dit exactement ce que ça veut dire.

You will never guess what happened? tu ne devineras jamais ce qui est arrivé?

I know what will happen if I tell him that: je sais ce qui arrivera si je lui dit ça.

I don’t know what’s wrong with him: je ne sais pas ce qui ne va pas avec lui.

What is said is said: ce qui est dit est dit.

Please, read what follows: S’il vous plaît, lisez ce qui suit.

What really matters is… Ce qui est vraiment important, c’est…

Pay attention to everything that is going on: fais attention à tout ce qui se passe.


Pay attention to the abbreviation

What he is doing is not my business: ce qu’il fait ne me regarde pas.

What is good for the client is not always good for the seller: ce qui est bon pour le client n’est pas toujours bon pour le vendeur.
Instead of ce qui we say skee.

3. Differences:

What he lacks is money: Ce que il lui manque, c’est l’argent, ce qui lui manque, c’est l’argent.

One thing is sure… Ce qui est sûr

The odd thing about that… Ce qui est bizarre c’est…

All he is interested in… Tout ce qui l’intéresse…

Everything connected to French: tout ce qui touche le français.


4. Ce dont

We use dont we prepositional French verb using “de” as a preposition

J’ai besoin de toi: I need you

What I need is love: Ce don’t j’ai besoin, c’est d’amour.

This is what I am afraid of: c’est ce dont j’ai peur

What it is all about: voilà ce don’t il s’agit

What I am proud of: ce dont je suis fier.

Pascal Dherve

Leave a Comment
Published by
Pascal Dherve

Recent Posts

French Prepositions with Countries, Cities

Countries We need to know the gender of the word and pay attention to the…

9 months ago

Porter, Apporter, Emporter

Porter, Apporter, Emporter 1. Porter (for things)Read morePorter, Apporter, Emporter

3 years ago

Imparfait vs Passé Composé

Comparaison: Imparfait vs Passé ComposéRead moreImparfait vs Passé Composé

3 years ago

Colors in French

Colors in FrenchRead moreColors in French

3 years ago

French Idiomatic Expressions – 5

Daily French Expressions

3 years ago

French Idiomatic Expressions – 3

French Daily Expressions

3 years ago