Dans lequel / laquelle : alternative to où with places (relative pronouns)

Look at these sentences:

La maison dans laquelle / où j'habite est assez petite.
The house in which / where I live is quite small.

Le jardin dans lequel / où il se promène est magnifique en été.
The garden (in which) / where he's having a walk is gorgeous in the summer.

Le canapé dans lequel / où vous êtes assis m'a coûté une fortune.
The sofa in which / where you're sitting cost me a fortune.

Les villes dans lesquelles / où j'ai vécu étaient toutes uniques.
The cities in which / where I lived were all unique.

To introduce relative clauses talking about places (in which/where), there are two ways in French:

-  (where)

- dans + lequel / laquelle / lesquels / lesquelles (in which)
Note: these forms agree in gender and number with the object they refer to

Note: you can never have dans lequel ... separated like in English, or just dans at the end of the clause.
e.g.you cannot say La maison laquelle je vis dans. / La maison je vis dans. (The house (which) I live in.)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Le jardin dans lequel / où il se promène est magnifique en été.
The garden (in which) / where he's having a walk is gorgeous in the summer.


Les villes dans lesquelles / où j'ai vécu étaient toutes uniques.
The cities in which / where I lived were all unique.


Le canapé dans lequel / où vous êtes assis m'a coûté une fortune.
The sofa in which / where you're sitting cost me a fortune.


La maison dans laquelle / où j'habite est assez petite.
The house in which / where I live is quite small.


Q&A Forum 3 questions, 6 answers

HannahA1Kwiziq community member

en lequel

Hi, when is "en lequel" used in French or is it grammatically incorrect? 

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Hannah,

en lequel is grammatically correct and is indeed used. Here is an example:

Mon ami, en lequel j'ai confiance, habite à Paris. -- My friend, in whom I trust, lives in Paris.

Does this help? -- Chris (not a native speaker).

HannahA1Kwiziq community member

This makes sense, thank you. 

Can you also use “en lequel” with objects?

And is there any specific reason why you would use “en lequel” rather than a different preposition?

Thank you for your help :)

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Yes, you can use en lequel with objects. Actually, it is mostly used for objects because for persons there exists an alternative construction.

The woman I work for. -- Le femme pour qui je travaille.
The company I work for. -- L'entrepreise pour laquelle je travaille.

You might want to check out this lesson for further details:
Prepositions + qui, lequel, laquelle, etc : on what, behind whom, beside which (relative pronouns)

You're also asking why I would use "en" and not a different preposition? Which preposition you use depends on what you want to say. In principle, any preposition can be combined with laquelle/lequel/lesquels/lesquelles.

L'arbre sous lequel j'étais assis. -- The tree I was sitting under.
Les livres sans lesquels je ne peux pas continuer. -- The books without which I cannot continue.

I hope that helps, -- Chris (not a native speaker).

en lequel

Hi, when is "en lequel" used in French or is it grammatically incorrect? 

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JohnB2Kwiziq community member

vous êtes assis??

Hi - the example "Le canapé dans lequel / où vous êtes assis m'a coûté une fortune", the translation has me a bit confused (where you're sitting = vous êtes assis). My mind wants to make "where you're sitting" the present tense - ie: vous (vous) asseyez. However if the passé composé is correct, my brain wants to either write vous vous êtes assis, or vous avez assis?? Thanks in advance..
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour John, Your brain is in the right place, but here the trick is the nuance between "to sit (to be sat)" and "to be (in the process of) sitting", which is more strongly marked in French. If you want to say you're sitting DOWN, you will use the verb "s'asseoir" in Le Présent: "où vous vous asseyez". However, when you want to say you're sat (or sitting, hence confusion), then you will use Le Présent of "être assis(e)" (to be sat): "vous êtes assis". I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !
HelenA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
So the difference is... you're already been seated -- so you're "sitting": etre assis. If you're in the process of sitting, you'd use the reflexive verbs: s'asseoir/s'assoir ?

vous êtes assis??

Hi - the example "Le canapé dans lequel / où vous êtes assis m'a coûté une fortune", the translation has me a bit confused (where you're sitting = vous êtes assis). My mind wants to make "where you're sitting" the present tense - ie: vous (vous) asseyez. However if the passé composé is correct, my brain wants to either write vous vous êtes assis, or vous avez assis?? Thanks in advance..

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Barb B2Kwiziq community member

maisons dans lesquelles j'ai vécu : choice of passé composé

Since living in these towns would have been ongoing for periods of time, why not imparfait?
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member

Bonjour Barb,

The fact that there have been several houses means that we know each one had a specific beginning and ending, therefore we need the passé composé.

The "ongoing" rule for the French imperfect means, in essence, "ongoing without a clear beginning or ending."

maisons dans lesquelles j'ai vécu : choice of passé composé

Since living in these towns would have been ongoing for periods of time, why not imparfait?

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