Que ou dont ?

French Grammar (see all)

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Que ou dont ?

Relative pronouns are used to link two related ideas into a single sentence, thereby avoiding repetition. The French relative pronouns qui, que, , dont, lequel variously mean ‘who’, ‘whom’, ‘that’, ‘which’, ‘whose’, ‘where’, or ‘when’.

J’ai acheté du vin. Victor adore ce vin.
I bought some wine. Victor loves this wine.
J’ai acheté du vin que Victor adore.
I bought some wine which Victor loves.
J’ai acheté du vin. Victor m’a parlé de ce vin.
I bought some wine. Victor told me about this wine.
J’ai acheté du vin dont Victor m’a parlé.
I bought some wine which Victor told me about.

Unlike in English, these relative pronouns are required in French.
We can’t say J’ai acheté du vin Victor adore or J’ai acheté du vin Victor m’a parlé.

Let’s look at the difference between the relative pronouns que and dont.

•  Que (or qu if used before a vowel) replaces a direct object (a complément d’objet direct in French). This is the part of speech (often a person or a thing) which follows a verb without a preposition.
Muriel prépare un gâteau. Nous mangerons ce gâteau ce soir.
Muriel is making a cake. We’ll eat this cake tonight.
Muriel prépare un gâteau que nous mangerons ce soir.
Muriel is making a cake which we’ll eat tonight.

•  Dont is used when the noun replaced is an object of the preposition de. We usually use it with these expressions (se souvenir de, parler de, avoir besoin de, avoir peur de, être content de, etc.) or these noun phrases (le père de Victor, les amis de mon frère, etc.).
C’est le chien de Muriel. Marcel a peur de ce chien.
This is Muriel’s dog. Marcel is scared of this dog.
C’est le chien de Muriel dont Marcel a peur.
It’s Muriel’s dog of which Marcel is scared. / This is Muriel’s dog which Marcel is scared of.
Marcel termine un rapport. Il est satisfait de ce rapport.
Marcel has finished a report. He is pleased with this report.
Marcel termine un rapport dont il est satisfait.
Marcel has finished a report which he is very pleased with.
Je te présente mon frère. Les amis de mon frère vont bientôt arriver.
Let me introduce my brother. My brother‘s friends will arrive soon.
Je te présente mon frère dont les amis vont bientôt arriver.
Let me introduce my brother, whose friends will arrive soon.


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