Ce que / Ce qui instead of Que or Qui alone.

Kate

Kwiziq community member

9 February 2016

3 replies

Ce que / Ce qui instead of Que or Qui alone.

Hello. I think I understand when to use ce qui instead of ce que and vice versa, but I can't find the lesson that explains when to use ce que / ce qui instead of que or qui alone. Thanks for any help!

This relates to:
Ce qui (vs ce que) = what, which (relative pronouns) -

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

9 February 2016

9/02/16

Bonjour Kate, We don't currently have a lesson that specifically addresses when to use French relative pronouns (que / qui) vs when to use indefinite relative pronouns (ce que / ce qui). The difference is straightforward: you need relative pronouns when there is an antecedent - something specific that the pronoun refers back to: J'ai mangé du pain. Le pain que j'ai mangé était bon. You need indefinite relative pronouns when there is no antecedent, when the thing is unknown or unspecified: Ce que j'ai mangé était bon. I hope this helps! :-)

Kate

Kwiziq community member

9 February 2016

9/02/16

Thanks so much for the reply. Yes that seems clear. Will now try to apply it!

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

12 February 2016

12/02/16

Bonjour Kate ! That's a very interesting question indeed! Let's point out first that we're talking about the relative pronouns here, which are used to introduce a new information in a sentence (as opposed to question words like "what?"). Once you know this, the separation is quite simple: "qui/que" can mean "who/which/that ..." whereas "ce qui/ce que" mean "what ...". e.g. La fille que je regarde. (The girl whom[m]/that I'm watching.) e.g. Je fais ce que je veux. (I do what I want.) Precision: in cases where "ce qui / ce que" would also be translated by "which" in English, you need to ask yourself: What does "que/qui/ce que/ce qui" is referring to? If it refers to a noun (expressed before), then you will use "que/qui". If it refers to the whole part of the sentence, the whole idea, then it will be "ce que/ce qui". e.g. Les gens que je rencontre ... (The people which I meet...) Here "que" refers to "people" e.g. J'aime les bananes, ce que tu trouves fascinant. (I love bananas, which you find fascinating.) Here "ce que" refers to the whole fact that I love bananas, not just to the bananas. I hope that’s helpful!

Your answer

Login to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Think you've got all the answers?

Test your French to the CEFR standard

find your French level »
3065questions6471answers127,486users
Let me take a look at that...