Can 'où' mean anything other than 'when' and 'where'?

JoanA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Can 'où' mean anything other than 'when' and 'where'?

''Je crois que le modèle que nous imaginions, où les gens travaillaient de chez eux, s'est concrétisé.''

For example, in the sentence above, 'où' does not mean 'when' or 'where'; rather, it is used to describe the 'modèle', which is not a time or place. Why is the use of 'où' still correct?

Thank you.

Asked 6 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

You're right, it is used as a relative pronoun in this case, meaning "where". Its meaning can be  "when" or "where", when it functions as a relative pronoun. Here are some examples with used as a relative pronoun and meaning either "when" or "where":

La ville j'ai grandi, n'existe plus. -- The town where I grew up doesn't exist anymore.
C'était l'été  tout a changé. -- It was the summer when everything changed. (Note that you cannot say ...quand tout a changé).

As an interrogative pronoun, means "where" and quand means "when". But since quand can't be used as a relative pronoun, takes on that function and therefore can mean "where" and "when" when used in this way.

JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Bonjour Joan,

Good point!

Normally we understand où to act as an adverb, however in this case où is acting as a pronoun.

As a pronoun, it is representing "the model" that is, working from home. So we have "people working from home" has become normalised as a regular option when this was never thought of as being possible once the pandemic had passed.

https://www.wordreference.com/fren/o%C3%B9   for further information.

Hope this helps.

Bonne continuation.

Jim

Can 'où' mean anything other than 'when' and 'where'?

''Je crois que le modèle que nous imaginions, où les gens travaillaient de chez eux, s'est concrétisé.''

For example, in the sentence above, 'où' does not mean 'when' or 'where'; rather, it is used to describe the 'modèle', which is not a time or place. Why is the use of 'où' still correct?

Thank you.

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level
Getting that for you now...