De + qui, duquel, de laquelle, dont = Of/about whom (relative pronouns)

Look at these sentences:

Les boutons de manchette dont il a envie sont trop chers.
Les boutons de manchette desquels il a envie sont trop chers.

The cuff links he wants (of which he has envy) are too expensive.

La fille de qui il a peur habite ici.
La fille de laquelle il a peur habite ici.
La fille dont il a peur habite ici.

The girl he is scared of (of whom he is scared) lives here.

Le garçon de qui tu parles, est très gentil.
Le garçon duquel tu parles, est très gentil.
Le garçon dont tu parles, est très gentil.

The boy you are speaking of (of whom you are speaking), is very nice.

Les chaussures dont tu as besoin sont dans le placard.
Les chaussures desquelles tu as besoin sont dans le placard.

The shoes (which) you need are in the cupboard.

To introduce relative clauses with the preposition de, there are three ways in French:

dont

- de qui (of/about whom), which can only apply to living things

- The contracted forms of de + quel (of/about which): duquel / de laquelle / desquels / desquelles.
These forms agree in gender and number with the object they refer to.

ATTENTION: 

You can never have de or duquel or dont at the end of the clause like in English.
-> You cannot say:
La fille qui je parle de
La fille laquelle je parle de                    The girl whom I'm speaking of
La fille je parle dont 

See also Dont = Whose

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Les boutons de manchette dont il a envie sont trop chers.
Les boutons de manchette desquels il a envie sont trop chers.

The cuff links he wants (of which he has envy) are too expensive.


La fille de qui il a peur habite ici.
La fille de laquelle il a peur habite ici.
La fille dont il a peur habite ici.

The girl he is scared of (of whom he is scared) lives here.


Les chaussures dont tu as besoin sont dans le placard.
Les chaussures desquelles tu as besoin sont dans le placard.

The shoes (which) you need are in the cupboard.


Le garçon de qui tu parles, est très gentil.
Le garçon duquel tu parles, est très gentil.
Le garçon dont tu parles, est très gentil.

The boy you are speaking of (of whom you are speaking), is very nice.


Q&A Forum 6 questions, 23 answers

Can you suggest me the best french dictionary mobile app. I have downloaded many but most of them contain errors..

Asked 8 months ago

I use Reverso. It it's just a web page (reverso.net) that runs in your browser rather than an App, but you can save it to your home page and access it like an App.

I also use Reverso Context for translating phrases and it is an App.

Can you suggest me the best french dictionary mobile app. I have downloaded many but most of them contain errors..

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Bonjour!

Asked 8 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super star

Bonjour!

I am confused about the genders of everything in French.. So please suggest me a good dictionary mobile app... 

Merci!  

Bonjour!

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

The girl I'm thinking of is Isabelle." : La fille ________ je pense est Isabelle. Why is the answer "à qui" rather than "de qui/dont"

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Mintoo,

Because the verb in French is 'penser à '.

CécileKwiziq language super star

Hi Mintoo,

Because the verb in French is 'penser à '.

RobinA2

I've been meaning to ask but please let me know if Lawless French or KwizIQ has a lesson that lists many of the verbs that require à?  It is not always obvious to me as a student.  Many thanks.

here's a good list that i've found

https://www.thoughtco.com/french-verbs-with-prepositions-p2-1364548

The girl I'm thinking of is Isabelle." : La fille ________ je pense est Isabelle. Why is the answer "à qui" rather than "de qui/dont"

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Are these really equivalent?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi everyone,

I don't think 'dont ' and 'duquel' are always interchangeable.

In the examples given in the lesson , the verbs all use de :

avoir envie de , avoir peur de, parler de, avoir besoin de ...

In thoses cases you can use any of the possibilities suggested .

Hope this helps!

I keep seeing material that talks about the importance of distinguishing between them: Dont for a phrasal verb : Le livre dont je t'ai parlé Duquel/etc. for prepositions : Le livre au-dessus duquel j'ai renversé mon café

The distinction is a pretty complicated matter and depends also on the register you are using. Here is a page which explains it and also offers a little test in the end to check your understanding: https://www.francaisfacile.com/exercices/exercice-francais-2/exercice-francais-105504.php

-- Chris (not a native speaker)

Thank you, Chris!  I did look at the Français Facile page the other day, which is why I was surprised to see the two possibiities described as equivalent.  

I don't see them as interchangeably equivalent. They serve a similar purpose but in some instances you need one where you can't substitute the other. I believe the site to which I postet the link in my previous post explains it pretty well.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Thanks!
LesleyC1
I would like to see this question answered by one of the site teachers as the usage presented in this lesson does not seem consistent with that presented in sites such the link offered by Chris, nor with texts such as Grammaire progressive du Français.
RobinA2

It would be nice to be able to refer to a list of verbs that use prepositions. 

CécileKwiziq language super star

Hi Robin,

It is in my To-Do list....

Here's one!  Not exhaustive of course, but has a lot of verbs.

https://www.thoughtco.com/french-verbs-with-prepositions-p2-1364548

Are these really equivalent?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

De quoi

When do we use de quoi. For example can we say La fourchette de quoi tu te sers était à ma mère.
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Arash ! Actually, you never use "de quoi" in this context! To refer to an object, you will always use "dont", and sometimes "de laquelle". I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !
MaxC1
It seems I use "de quoi" occasionally. I am not a native French speaker, but I speak French frequently and "de quoi" doesn't SOUND incorrect. When If ever would one use "de quoi"? Don't get me wrong - I'd be happy to jettison this expression.
— De quoi as-tu envie ? D'un gâteau, ou d'une glace ?
— J'ai envie de dormir.
— Tu as de quoi vivre, au moins ?
— J'ai de quoi manger une fois par jour.

De quoi

When do we use de quoi. For example can we say La fourchette de quoi tu te sers était à ma mère.

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

How do you know which of the appropriate options (de qui, dont, duquel, etc.) you should use?

Does it depend on whether you're speaking or writing? Is one used more frequently in conversation vs. when writing in French? Any additional explanation you can give would be greatly appreciated! I've always struggle with this and can't seem to understand these words enough to employ them. Thank you!
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1
- 1) de qui (of/about whom), which can only apply to living things, usually people. - 2) dont -- Use dont if the subordinate clause needs an object introduced by de/d'. Such clauses may indicate possession or they may contain verbs which are followed by the preposition de. Some of these verbs include 'parler de' (to talk about); 'avoir besoin de' (to need); 'avoir peur de' (to be afraid of); 'tenir de' (to take after). - 3) duquel -- The contracted forms of de + quel (of/about which): duquel / de laquelle / desquels / desquelles Note: these forms agree in gender and number with the object they refer to Note: you can never have de or duquel or dont at the end of the clause like in English. e.g. you cannot say La fille qui je parle de / La fille laquelle je parle de / La fille je parle dont (The girl I'm speaking of) Preposition Masculine singular Masculine plural Feminine singular Feminine plural lequel lesquels laquelle lesquelles with à auquel auxquels à laquelle auxquelles with de duquel desquels de laquelle desquelles
RonC1
Lequel, lesquels, laquelle, lesquelles are pronouns, i.e. they are used in place of a noun. They are used to ask the questions 'which one?' or 'which ones?' They assume the number and gender of the nouns they replace and contract with the prepositions à and de. Preposition Masculine singular Masculine plural Feminine singular Feminine plural lequel lesquels laquelle lesquelles with à auquel auxquels à laquelle auxquelles with de duquel desquels de laquelle desquelles

Ron,

That is the best and most concise answer/description I have ever seen regarding this subject.

Magnifique.

Regards

Allen (AB)

How do you know which of the appropriate options (de qui, dont, duquel, etc.) you should use?

Does it depend on whether you're speaking or writing? Is one used more frequently in conversation vs. when writing in French? Any additional explanation you can give would be greatly appreciated! I've always struggle with this and can't seem to understand these words enough to employ them. Thank you!

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Clever stuff underway!