Qui, que, dont

Using ‘qui’ to join two sentences together

Qui – means who if referring back to a person in the sentence:

la femme qui habite là-bas est très sympa – the lady who lives over there is very friendly

Qui can also mean which if referring back to a thing or place:

l’hôtel bleu qui est au bord de la mer est fermé - the blue hotel, which is by the sea, is closed

It is used to replace the subject of the sentence, for example:

  • I have a bike + my bike is blue → I have a bike which is blue
  • j’ai un vélo + mon vélo est bleu → j’ai un vélo qui est bleu

TIP – qui is normally followed by a verb. It is also never shortened to qu’ before a vowel.

Using ‘que’ to join two sentences

Que – means that or which when referring back to an object in a sentence. For example:

  • c’est le groupe que tu as vu au concert - it’s the band that you saw at the concert

(You is the subject of the sentence – ie the person doing the verb you saw. The band is the object, ie: what you saw.)

When que is used before a noun starting with a vowel it is shortened to qu’, for example:

  • he ate the cake + the cake was delicious → the cake that he ate was delicious

(He is eating – so he is the subject, the cake is the object, ie what he ate) → le gâteau qu’il a mangé était délicieux

Using ‘dont’ to join two sentences

Dont – means whose, of which, of whom, about whom, about which, from which.

It is used a lot to refer back to things you have been talking about, for example:

  • c’est de la mère de Pauline dont elle parle - it’s Pauline’s mum she’s talking about
  • c’est l’émission dont tout le monde parle - it’s the programme everyone is talking about
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