How do you know when to use que/qui instead of ce que/qui

HelenaB1Kwiziq community member

How do you know when to use que/qui instead of ce que/qui

Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Helena,
That's a very interesting question indeed!
Let's point out first that we're talking about the relative pronouns here, which are used to introduce a new information in a sentence (as opposed to question words like "what?").

Once you know this, the separation is quite simple: "qui/que" can mean "who/which/that ..." whereas "ce qui/ce que" mean "what ...".

La fille que je regarde. (The girl whom[m]/that I'm watching.)
Je fais ce que je veux. (I do what I want.)

I hope that's helpful!

AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
Precision: in cases where "ce qui / ce que" would also be translated by "which" in English, you need to ask yourself: What does "que/qui/ce que/ce qui" is referring to?
If it refers to a noun (expressed before), then you will use "que/qui".
If it refers to the whole part of the sentence, the whole idea, then it will be "ce que/ce qui".

Les gens que je rencontre ... (The people which I meet...)
-> Here "que" refers to "people"
J'aime les bananes, ce que tu trouves fascinant. (I love bananas, which you find fascinating.)
-> Here "ce que" refers to the whole fact that I love bananas, not just to the bananas

:)
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Ron !

In the case you pointed out, I agree that if what was found fascinating was only the bananas, you could use que, as follows :

J'aime les bananes que tu trouves fascinantes.
ATTENTION, as it would mean something slightly different here:
I love the bananas that you find fascinating.

Bonne journée !

 

HelenaB1Kwiziq community member
Thank you!!! That was so clearly explained too - even if I'm confused in the future I now know how to figure out which one to use! :)
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
J'aime les bananes, ce que tu trouves fascinant. (I love bananas, which you find fascinating.) Here "ce que" refers to the whole fact that I love bananas, not just to the bananas. . . While I understand the explanation given, using the rule of thumb about following a noun, "If it refers to a noun (expressed before), then you will use "que/qui"." then que could also be correct, i.e. he finds bananas fascinating -- of course in reality that would be interesting that someone found bananas fascinating, like he/she had never seen a banana. I do believe the better example is: "Je fais ce que je veux. (I do what I want.)"
KevinB1Kwiziq community member
And this confusion is exactly why I don't get this lesson... still... after weeks of trying it just won't go in.  The whole "introducing new information" idea above just makes no sense to me at all... :-(

How do you know when to use que/qui instead of ce que/qui

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