How to connect two sentences in French : Relative Pronouns (Lequel, laquelle)

relative pronouns in french lequel laquel lesquelles

By learning relative pronouns, you are stepping to a higher level of language skills. It means not only you can make a sentence, but now you’ll be able to connect two sentences in one.

Thanks to relative pronouns in French, we can link relative and dependent clauses together.

Stay here to learn how.

What is a Relative Pronoun?

A relative pronoun is a connector – it links relative clauses to main clauses so that you don’t have to repeat subjects or objects. A dependent clause is a group of words with a subject and a verb, as it does not express a complete thought, so it isn’t a sentence and can’t stand alone.

French has five relative pronouns: dont, lequel, où, que, and qui.

They correspond to seven English relative pronouns and adverbs, which are that, when, where, which, who, whom, and whose.

Characteristics of relative pronouns

  1. Join relative and main clauses
  2. As direct objects, direct subjects, or objects of prepositions
  3. impersonal and invariable (except lequel)
  4. Are obligatory in French, but optional in English

Today, we’ll focus on the only relative pronoun that is variable in French, lequel. So first, let’s show you its forms.

Relative Pronouns: Forms in French

There are four forms in French, that correspond to two genres (masculine and feminine) and two numbers (singular and plural).

lequel – used for masculine singular

Paul a un tiroir en métal dans lequel il cache ses affaires précieuses.

Paul has a metal drawer in which he hides his precious things.

laquelle -used for feminine singular

L’entreprise pour laquelle je travaille est allemande.

The company I work for is German.

lesquels – used for masculine plural

Les murs entre lesquels j’étais semblaient très sales.

The walls I was between looked very dirty.

lesquelles – used for feminine plural

Les chaises sur lesquelles nous nous sommes assises étaient inconfortables.

The chairs we sat on were uncomfortable.

Lequel with Prepositions

The relative pronouns lequel, laquelle, lesquels, and lesquelles can be used with prepositions.

C’est la table sur laquelle j’ai écrit toute mon enfance.

This is the table on which I wrote all my childhood.

Vous connaissez les deux magasins devant lesquels on a installé l’abribus ?

Do you know the two stores in front of which we installed the bus shelter?

Les deux valises avec lesquelles j’ai voyagé ont disparu.

The two suitcases I traveled with have disappeared.

Sometimes, the preposition can even change the form of the relative pronoun and contract. It happens in two cases.

  • When the preposition à is in front of the relative pronoun.

à + lequel /auquel

Voici un livre auquel je tiens beaucoup.

à laquelle /without compression

Voici l’école  à laquelle  je me suis consacré.

This is the school to which I devoted myself.

à + lequels /auxquels

Les chiens auxquels je donne à manger s’appellent Lok et Bob.

The dogs I feed are called Lok and Bob.

à + lesquelles / auxquelles

Voici les choses auxquelles vous avez droit.

Here are the things you are entitled to.

  • When the preposition de is in front of the relative pronoun.

de + lequel / duquel  

C’est un tableau au centre duquel on voit un enfant.

It is a painting in the center of which we see a child.

de + laquelle/ de laquelle

C’est une histoire à propos de laquelle on a beaucoup parlé.

It’s a story that’s been talked about a lot.

des + lesquels / desquels

Ce sont des arbres en face desquels on a bâti un mur.

These are trees in front of which a wall has been built.

des + lesquelles / desquelles

Les berges le long desquelles je marche sont très jolies.

The banks along which I walk are very pretty.

As you may notice, the only form that’s not changing is the feminine laquelle.

Make sure to put all you learned into practice, with this exercise on podcast Françaisfacile.


It’s All Relative

Once you learn how to use relative pronouns, you’ll be able to relate two statements and create one. Remember that the French relative pronoun, lequel, is translated as which” or “that”.

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