French Grammar Explained /

The relative pronoun "que"

J'utilise une imprimante. L'imprimante est au bureau.
I use a printer. The printer is in the office.
Je gagne un salaire. Mon salaire est gros.
I earn a salary. My salary is big.
Oh, I know this topic already! We're talking about qui.
If only! There's actually another relative pronoun you can use: que
L'imprimante que j'utilise est au bureau.
The printer that I use is in the office.
Le salaire que je gagne est gros.
The salary that I earn is big.
Do you see the difference between qui and que?
Yes, with qui and que you didn't have to repeat the nouns.
Très bien! Qui and que are added to link two sentences together.
Oh yes, and qui replaces a person and que replaces an object.
Hold on, it's not that simple...
The relative pronouns QUI and QUE both indicate either:
- a person,
- an animal, or
- an object.
Uh... how am I suppose to know which one to use?
Look at this example:
Ma collègue qui a 55 ans est gentille.
My colleague, who is 55, is nice.
Here qui has the function of subject; it does the action of the verb and replaces the noun "ma collègue".
L'imprimante que j'utilise est au bureau.
The printer that I use is at the office.
Here que has the function of object; it receives the action of the verb utiliser (I use what? l'imprimante!), and replaces the noun "l'imprimante". The subject of this sentence is placed before the verb: "je".
Oh... I think I get it! So, when I want to repeat a noun in a sentence I can either use qui, if the noun is the subject of the verb, or que, if the noun receives the action of the verb by being the object.
Le stylo qui est bleu est à moi.
The pen that is blue is mine.
Simone De Beauvoir est une femme que j'admire.
Simone De Beauvoir is a woman that I admire.
Et voilà ! You're almost as good as me now!
Remember that qui and que have a grammatical function in the sentence, they don't have a specific meaning!
QUI → Acts as the subject (does the action) of the verb.
QUE →Acts as the object (receives the action) of the verb .