When do you use the relative pronoun que/qui/dont?

Qui functions as the subject in the sentence and is preceded by a noun or a pronoun. Qui replaces the subject. A simple way of knowing when to use qui is that it is followed by the verb directly e.g. c'est moi qui ai fait ça (It's me who did that)

Que functions as a complement to the indirect object (which sounds much more complicated than it is) it just means that que works as the direct object in the sentence e.g. c'est le cadeau que ma soeur m'a donné (it's the present that my sister gave me). The 'que' prevents you from having to start a new sentence again and saying the present again. You do not have a verb directly after using que. 

Dont is the easiest one to distinguish as it is used to replace both que and qui when there would be a 'de' at the end of the sentence. We can't have a dangling de so we have to use dont where we need a relative pronoun instead of que or qui.

E.g. ici c'est le livre dont tu as besoin. Explanation: avoir besoin de quelquechose, you can't put ici c'est le livre que tu as besoin de because you can't have de at the end of the sentence 'dangling' so we replace it with the dont.

Danielle M. GCSE French tutor, A Level French tutor, GCSE Spanish tut...

4 months ago

Answered by Danielle, an A Level French tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


Emily B. A Level German tutor, A Level French tutor, GCSE French tuto...
View profile
£20 /hr

Emily B.

Degree: French and German (Bachelors) - Leeds University

Subjects offered: French, German


“ne of the things I enjoy about languages is being able to pass on my knowledge of both the language and culture to others.”

Tom P. 13 Plus  Spanish tutor, GCSE Spanish tutor, A Level Spanish tu...
View profile
£20 /hr

Tom P.

Degree: Modern Languages & Business Studies (Bachelors) - Newcastle University

Subjects offered: French, Spanish+ 1 more


“Hi/Hola/Ciao/Bonjour! My name is Tom, I am a student tutor who is fluent in Spanish, French, and Italian. I have multiple clients that I tutor on a regular basis, I also currently teach in a local primary school. I have experience tea...”

MyTutor guarantee

Ben S. A Level English Language tutor, GCSE English Language tutor, A...
View profile
£20 /hr

Ben S.

Degree: Modern Languages (Masters) - Oxford, St Hugh's College University

Subjects offered: French, English Literature+ 3 more

English Literature
English Language
-Personal Statements-

“I am a passionate reader and linguist, and I have recently graduated from The University of Warwick with a BA (with Honours) in English and French, and I am an incoming Master's student atThe University of Oxford, and will read Modern ...”

About the author

Danielle M. GCSE French tutor, A Level French tutor, GCSE Spanish tut...
View profile
£20 /hr

Danielle M.

Degree: Spanish and French Studies (Bachelors) - Warwick University

Subjects offered: French, Spanish


“About me: My name is Danielle and I am about to be a final year student of French and Spanishat Warwick University. I spent the last twelve months on my year abroad, where I was a student at Málaga University in Spain and University ...”

You may also like...

Posts by Danielle

How do you form the imperfect tense in Spanish?

How do you revise for French exams?

How do you revise for Spanish exams?

What is the difference between por and para?

Other A Level French questions

How do you know when to use savoir or connaitre?

How do you form the imperfect tense?

How do I know whether to use 'qui' or 'que'?

When do I use the subjunctive in French?

View A Level French tutors


We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss