I can’t work out when it is “ce qui/ce que” or “qui/que”… I.e. when does “Ce” go in front of qui/que? Thank you

StevenC1Kwiziq community member

I can’t work out when it is “ce qui/ce que” or “qui/que”… I.e. when does “Ce” go in front of qui/que? Thank you

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Steven, I'll give it a shot.

The pronoun "ce" is used whenever the following relative pronoun (qui or que) refers to an idea that is not specifically mentioned in the same sentence. For example:

Natalie a un livre qui parle de Napoléon. -- Natalie has a book which talk about Napoleon.
Dans ce livre, elle trouve ce qui l'intéresse. -- In that book she finds what interests her.
Elle y apprend ce que Napoléon a fait. -- She learns from it, what Napoleon did.

The first sentence uses "qui" as a relative pronoun which refers to "un livre".

The second sentence uses "ce qui", which refers to a general idea of what interests her. There is no clear target in the sentence to which a mere "qui" could refer. It is "ce qui" because that is the subject of the sentence.

The third sentence uses "ce que" because, again, it referes to a general idea, namely that which Napoleon did. Also, it is the direct object ot the sentence, hence "ce que" instead of "ce qui".

As a rough guideline you can use "ce qui/ce que" whenever you would use "what" in English. If you can use "which", itis "qui/que".

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

StevenC1Kwiziq community member
 I get it!… And thanks for the little tip at the end, I’ll try it out…Steve 

I can’t work out when it is “ce qui/ce que” or “qui/que”… I.e. when does “Ce” go in front of qui/que? Thank you

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level >>
I'll be right with you...