How do you construct a phrase with a relative pronoun in French?
This month on our blog and for our free French lessons, we are going to offer you a series of 3 videos and articles on relative pronouns.
This lesson is taught by one of our French teachers at alpha.b: Christian.
What is a relative pronoun? Where does it go in the phrase?
What is a relative pronoun?
It is a function word which is used to replace one or more words in a phrase.
Les étudiants écoutent le professeur. Ils écoutent le professeur.
« Ils » is a pronoun and it replaces the word « Les étudiants. »
Today, we are going to focus on relative pronouns.
Les étudiants écoutent le professeur.
Les étudiants sont intelligents.
We want to combine all of the information from the two phrases into a single phrase, and we don’t want to repeat « Les étudiants. »
Therefore, we are going to use the relative pronoun.
This gives us:
Les étudiants qui sont intelligents écoutent le professeur.
We re-use this logic with all of the relative pronouns, even with those the most difficult like: DONT
A bit of advice: write your phrases separately, find and mark the elements which appear twice, add in your pronoun and check that all of the information in your phrase is unique.
How do you construct a phrase with a relative pronoun?
There is a very simple method.
We put the element which repeats itself, at the beginning of the phrase:
Phrase 1 : Les étudiants écoutent le professeur.
Phrase 2 : Les étudiants sont intelligents.
Then to create our phrase, we start by:
- Les étudiants
- we add the unique pronoun, here it is the pronoun QUI
- we take the elements that remain in phrase 1
- we take the elements that remain in phrase 2
And that is the secret for how to properly construct your phrases with a relative pronoun!