À + qui, auquel, à laquelle = to whom, what, which (relative pronouns)

Look at these sentences:

La fille à qui je pense est belle. 
La fille à laquelle je pense est belle.

The girl (whom) I am thinking about is beautiful.

(Faire peur à = to scare [someone/something])

Le chat, auquel tu as fait peur, s'est caché sous le lit.  
Le chat, à qui tu as fait peur, s'est caché sous le lit.

The cat which you scared hid under the bed.

Ce problème, auquel je ne comprends rien, m'énerve!
This problem, about which I understand nothing, is getting on my nerves!

Marie et Juliette, à qui tu as menti, sont furieuses.  
Marie et Juliette, auxquelles tu as menti, sont furieuses.

Marie et Juliette, to whom you've been lying, are furious.

Mes amis, à qui j'écris régulièrement, viennent me voir bientôt.  
Mes amis, auxquels j'écris régulièrement, viennent me voir bientôt.

My friends, to whom I write regularly, are coming over soon.

To introduce relative clauses with the preposition à, there are two ways in French:

- à qui (about whom/to whom), which can only apply to living things

- The contracted forms of à + quel: auquel / à laquelle /auxquels / auxquelles  (which)
-> Note that these forms agree in gender and number with the object they refer to.

 ATTENTION:

You can never have à or auquel at the end of the clause like in English:

La fille qui je pense à / La fille laquelle je pense à

Le garçon je pense auquel

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Ce problème, auquel je ne comprends rien, m'énerve!
This problem, about which I understand nothing, is getting on my nerves!


Marie et Juliette, à qui tu as menti, sont furieuses.  
Marie et Juliette, auxquelles tu as menti, sont furieuses.

Marie et Juliette, to whom you've been lying, are furious.


Mes amis, à qui j'écris régulièrement, viennent me voir bientôt.  
Mes amis, auxquels j'écris régulièrement, viennent me voir bientôt.

My friends, to whom I write regularly, are coming over soon.


La fille à qui je pense est belle. 
La fille à laquelle je pense est belle.

The girl (whom) I am thinking about is beautiful.


Le chat, auquel tu as fait peur, s'est caché sous le lit.  
Le chat, à qui tu as fait peur, s'est caché sous le lit.

The cat which you scared hid under the bed.


Q&A Forum 19 questions, 35 answers

RebeccaB2Kwiziq community member

Use of 's'intéresser à'

Hi,

Could someone please help me to understand which is the appropriate way to use the verb 's'intéresser à' in the sentence 'The subject I am interested in is French'.

I have seen it used in two ways and am wondering which is correct or the most common.

1. La matière à laquelle je m'intéresse est le français. 

2. La matière qui m'intéresse est le français.

 Thank you :) 

Asked 5 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I think both are correct. Regarding everyday speech, I suspect the second object is more frequently used, but a native speaker would need to comment on that.

Use of 's'intéresser à'

Hi,

Could someone please help me to understand which is the appropriate way to use the verb 's'intéresser à' in the sentence 'The subject I am interested in is French'.

I have seen it used in two ways and am wondering which is correct or the most common.

1. La matière à laquelle je m'intéresse est le français. 

2. La matière qui m'intéresse est le français.

 Thank you :) 

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TJB2Kwiziq community member

Word order

Since you can't end the sentence with à qui (etc), how would you express something like this? "Yes, that's the one I was thinking of" / "That's the one I was thinking about"

Do you basically have to make it more like "Yes, that's the one of which I was thinking"? Having trouble figuring out how to express it in French.

Asked 6 months ago
LauraKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour TJ,

Yes, you have to reword it: C'est celui auquel je pensais.

(or celle à laquelle)

TJB2Kwiziq community member

Thank you!

Word order

Since you can't end the sentence with à qui (etc), how would you express something like this? "Yes, that's the one I was thinking of" / "That's the one I was thinking about"

Do you basically have to make it more like "Yes, that's the one of which I was thinking"? Having trouble figuring out how to express it in French.

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SineadB1Kwiziq community member

à + lequel to refer to people?

i've always been thought that à qui refers to a person and à + lequel refers to things? Can you explain?

Asked 9 months ago

à + lequel to refer to people?

i've always been thought that à qui refers to a person and à + lequel refers to things? Can you explain?

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HilaryB2Kwiziq community member

Comment refaire les questions

Bonjour- je voudrais refaire les deux questions? J'ai cliqué sur le mauvais bouton, donc je n'ai pas pu les finir la. Merci
Asked 1 year ago

Comment refaire les questions

Bonjour- je voudrais refaire les deux questions? J'ai cliqué sur le mauvais bouton, donc je n'ai pas pu les finir la. Merci

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JudyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Qui or à laquelle

I know this is a grammar issue, but I need help.

in the phrase “an endless adventure she couldn’t resist” is translated to

”une aventure sans fin à laquelle elle ne pouvait pas résister”.

Why is “qui” wrong (my answer) and “à laquelle” correct?

Judy

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Judy,

It is because of the verb is 'résister à' ,  'à qui' is not possible either as aventure is not a living thing as explained in the lesson.

So the correct answer is:

'...une aventure sans fin à laquelle elle ne pouvait pas résister...'

Hope this answers your question...

 

JudyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thank you. I understand now.

Qui or à laquelle

I know this is a grammar issue, but I need help.

in the phrase “an endless adventure she couldn’t resist” is translated to

”une aventure sans fin à laquelle elle ne pouvait pas résister”.

Why is “qui” wrong (my answer) and “à laquelle” correct?

Judy

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DraganaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

à qui or de qui or dont

Why is "les filles dont je pense sont géniales" - wrong?

parler de? 

Sometimes dont is used and in this case à qui/auxquelles

Dragana

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Dragana,

Qu'est-ce que tu penses des filles là-bas? = What do you think of/about the girls over there ? (penser de) 

Les filles à qui/auxquelles je pense sont géniales. The girls I am thinking of,  are great.(penser à) 

In those examples to think of means two separate concepts :

Penser de = What's your opinion on ...

Penser à = to think of someone/something

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Dont has several uses but mostly it replaces a phrase introduced by a verb+de. For example:

avoir envie de: tu connais ce dont j'ai envie. 

Parler de: je n'ai aucune idée de ce dont tu parles.

DraganaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hi Chris,

This does not answer my question.

The phrase "les filles dont je pense sont géniales" was incorrect according to kwizbot.

Why? if dont replaces "de" with verbs that need a preposition.

thanks

Dragana

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
The phrase is penser à quelqu'un. Therefore it would be les filles à qui je pense.  
DraganaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Can I say:

Qu'est-ce que tu penses de les filles là-bas?

Les filles dont je pense sont géniales.

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Penser à = to think of

penser de = to think about

à qui or de qui or dont

Why is "les filles dont je pense sont géniales" - wrong?

parler de? 

Sometimes dont is used and in this case à qui/auxquelles

Dragana

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MimiB2Kwiziq community member

A qui vs A laquelle

The question: La personne ________ je pense me rend heureux.

I wrote "a qui" but "a laquelle" was marked correct...Why is "a qui" nearly correct and not correct when your examples show that both are correct?

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
I hope you wrote "à qui" and not "a qui" (without accent)?
MimiB2Kwiziq community member

That explains it!

Thank you so much!

A qui vs A laquelle

The question: La personne ________ je pense me rend heureux.

I wrote "a qui" but "a laquelle" was marked correct...Why is "a qui" nearly correct and not correct when your examples show that both are correct?

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MimiB2Kwiziq community member

I wrote "a qui" but "a laquelle" was marked correct...Why is "a qui" nearly correct and not correct when your examples show that both are correct?

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi mimi,

both ought to be correct:

La personne à qui je pense me rend heureux.
La personne à laquelle je pense me rend heureux.

Mabye you were supposed to check both possibilities but you only checked one of them?

I wrote "a qui" but "a laquelle" was marked correct...Why is "a qui" nearly correct and not correct when your examples show that both are correct?

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MimiB2Kwiziq community member

The question: La personne ________ je pense me rend heureux.

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Mimi,

The only possible answers are: 

La personne à qui/à laquelle je pense me rend heureux.

 

The question: La personne ________ je pense me rend heureux.

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MimiB2Kwiziq community member

Why was I scored "nearly correct" instead of correct?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team member
What did you actually write, Mimi?

Why was I scored "nearly correct" instead of correct?

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RobertC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

"À qui" vs "de qui'

In the quiz question: "La personne ________ je pense me rend heureux." , could you please clarify why "de qui" cannot be considered correct?
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Robert,

Only 'à qui' is possible as the verb is: penser à quelqu'un.

Hope this helps!

"À qui" vs "de qui'

In the quiz question: "La personne ________ je pense me rend heureux." , could you please clarify why "de qui" cannot be considered correct?

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LesleeA2Kwiziq community member

I don’t understand why auqelle is used in this phrase. Ce problème, auquel je ne comprends rien, m'énerve!

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Leslee,

In this sentence the verb  is 'ne comprendre rien à quelquechose' so it would become "Ce problème, (à + lequel=) auquel je ne comprends rien , m'énerve.

Hope this helps!

I don’t understand why auqelle is used in this phrase. Ce problème, auquel je ne comprends rien, m'énerve!

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StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Use of 'auquel' / à qui instead of 'que'

In the lesson ‘Que = Whom, which, that (relative pronouns)’ an example sentence is given as:

‘La femme que je dessine’

An example sentence from this lesson is: ‘Le chat, auquel tu as fait peur’ OR ‘Le chat, à qui tu as fait peur’ 

I’m struggling to understand why is ‘Le chat, que tu as fait peur’ is not used?

Thanks

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

He Stewart,

It is "J'ai peur à quelque chose." Hence you need an indirect object like "à qui" or "à laquelle/auquel". "Que" is the direct object pronoun.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

ChC1Kwiziq community member

It's because the expression is "faire peur à qqn/qq chose" or in English, "to make/give fear TO someone/something". If you don't know the phrase, you won't get the right relative pronoun (though with time and experience, you'll be able to figure it out from the rest of the sentence, if they give it to you).

And then it's easy: "Tu as fait peur au chat." It's the "à" that triggers "à qui" or "auquel".

(An aside. To be afraid of something is "avoir peur DE qq chose." I've never heard of "avoir peur à quelque chose" but I'm not a native speaker, so anything is possible.)

Use of 'auquel' / à qui instead of 'que'

In the lesson ‘Que = Whom, which, that (relative pronouns)’ an example sentence is given as:

‘La femme que je dessine’

An example sentence from this lesson is: ‘Le chat, auquel tu as fait peur’ OR ‘Le chat, à qui tu as fait peur’ 

I’m struggling to understand why is ‘Le chat, que tu as fait peur’ is not used?

Thanks

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HeyesC1Kwiziq community member

Why isn't it 'la fille, à laquelle je pensé?' Instead of just laquelle?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

You can say both : "la fille à qui je pense" or "la fille à laquelle je pense".

You cannot say "la fille laquelle je pense" because you need the à as the verb is penser à quelqu'un.

Hope this answers your question Heyes...

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
It is "La fille, à laquelle je pense, est belle." What was your question again? -- Chris.

Why isn't it 'la fille, à laquelle je pensé?' Instead of just laquelle?

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PeumaC1Kwiziq community member

Mes amis, auxquels j'écris

Is it correct to use ''auxquels'' in this context when the antecedent is animate, because I was under the impression that ''auxquels'' was a restricted to inanimate objects (things) only
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Peuma, Below are links to two sites that provide explanatory description of the use of auxquels. I use other sites at times to review a structure that I am unsure of. It gives me a little different perspective that at times assists me to better understand the concept,. The first link, the article is written by Laura from Kwiziq and the second is from the French department at the University of Texas at Austin. Both are excellent. https://www.thoughtco.com/french-pronoun-lequel-1368874 https://www.laits.utexas.edu/tex/gr/int6.html J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait. Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisé par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour à nouveau, Here are four locutions: Mes amis, auxquels j'écris, viennent me voir bientôt --> My friends, that I write, come see me soon Mes amis, desquels j'écris, viennent me voir bientôt --> My friends, of which I write, come see me soon Mes amis, lesquels j'écris, viennent me voir bientôt --> My friends, which I write, come (are coming to) see me soon Mes amis, à qui j’écris, viennent me voir bientôt. --> My friends, to whom I write, come to see me soon. Which of these contexts best describes the scenario in the phrase you provided using «auxquels»?
PeumaC1Kwiziq community member
The first, second and third because I believed that in each case it would not be possible to use auxquels/desquels/lesquels because they are referring to animate objects of the preposition. The first link you provided stated this: "2) Relative pronoun: Lequel replaces an inanimate object of a preposition. (If the object of the preposition is a person, use qui.)" Would appreciate some clarity on this matter.
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Hi Peuma, as explained in the lesson, "à qui" is reserved for animate objects/persons. "Auquel", "à laquelle", "auxquels" and "à laquelles" can be used in either case. -- Chris (no native speaker).

Mes amis, auxquels j'écris

Is it correct to use ''auxquels'' in this context when the antecedent is animate, because I was under the impression that ''auxquels'' was a restricted to inanimate objects (things) only

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PeumaC1Kwiziq community member

Mes amis, auxquels j'écris, viennent me voir bientôt.

Is
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Please see previous response.
PeumaC1Kwiziq community member
I deeply and sincerely apologise if you believed this was spam. It was a basic technical computer error on my end and once again am very sorry if I caused any trouble. My actual question was posted at almost at exactly the same time as the technical glitch and I would greatly appreciate if you could reply to that. Sorry for any inconvenience!
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonsoir Peuma, I, for one, did not think it to be spam. I have seen this before from others who have posted and it has also happened to me when I posted a question as well as when I have posted a reply. In fact, I did reply to your other post and then found this post. I do agree with your assessment that it was a technical glitch. Another glitch that I have found is that when I have replied to a question and touch submit, my reply double-posted. Best regards, Bonne chance.

Mes amis, auxquels j'écris, viennent me voir bientôt.

Is

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AndyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Le chat, auquel tu as fait peur, s'est caché sous le lit.

I notice in the above examples, that the sentence talking about a cat is only translated using auquel. Is 'à qui' not applicable here? Is a cat not treated as a living thing in this instance? Thanks for your help!
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Andy ! "à qui" is indeed applicable to the cat as well, and thanks to you, we've now added this example to the lesson :) Merci et à bientôt !

Le chat, auquel tu as fait peur, s'est caché sous le lit.

I notice in the above examples, that the sentence talking about a cat is only translated using auquel. Is 'à qui' not applicable here? Is a cat not treated as a living thing in this instance? Thanks for your help!

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JohnnyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Is à que ever a valid phrase?

Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Johnny, I hate to say "never," but I can't think of any time where you could say à que. It should become à quoi. Did you have a specific example in mind?

Is à que ever a valid phrase?

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MicheleC1Kwiziq community member

So "dont" cannot be used in any of the phrases?

Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Michele, No, dont can't be used because it always replaces de + something. None of these phrases include de.
RobertC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
I'm struggling to differentiate between "The girl you are thinking of ..." in this exam and the example: Le garçon de qui / duquel / dont tu parles, est très gentil. The boy you are speaking of (of whom you are speaking), is very nice.
RobertC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Sorry, I misquoted the question : The person I'm thinking of makes me happy.
JC1Kwiziq community member
Could you please elaborate further on why 'dont' cannot be used for 'ce problème...'? My understanding is that one could say 'je n'ai aucune compréhension de cela', so why is it 'auquel'?

So "dont" cannot be used in any of the phrases?

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Getting that for you now.