De + qui, duquel, de laquelle, dont = Of/about whom (relative pronouns)

Look at these sentences:

Les boutons de manchette desquels / dont il a envie sont trop chers.
The cuff links he wants (of which he has envy) are too expensive.

La fille de qui / de laquelle / dont il a peur habite ici.
The girl he is scared of (of whom he is scared) lives here.

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. 

Les chaussures desquelles/dont tu as besoin sont dans le placard.
The shoes (which) you need are in the cupboard.

To introduce relative clauses with the preposition 'de', there are three ways in French:

- dont

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

- The contracted forms of de + quel (of/about which): duquel / de laquelle / desquels / desquelles
Note: these forms agree in gender and number with the object they refer to

Note: you can never have de or duquel or dont at the end of the clause like in English.
e.g. you cannot say La fille qui je parle de / La fille laquelle je parle de / La fille je parle dont (The girl I'm speaking of)

 

See also Dont = Whose

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

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. 


Les boutons de manchette desquels / dont il a envie sont trop chers.
The cuff links he wants (of which he has envy) are too expensive.


La fille de qui / de laquelle / dont il a peur habite ici.
The girl he is scared of (of whom he is scared) lives here.


Les chaussures desquelles/dont tu as besoin sont dans le placard.
The shoes (which) you need are in the cupboard.


Q&A

Mintoo

Kwiziq community member

17 August 2018

2 replies

The girl I'm thinking of is Isabelle." : La fille ________ je pense est Isabelle. Why is the answer "à qui" rather than "de qui/dont"

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

17 August 2018

17/08/18

Hi Mintoo,

Because the verb in French is 'penser à '.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

17 August 2018

17/08/18

Hi Mintoo,

Because the verb in French is 'penser à '.

Kevin

Kwiziq community member

28 February 2018

7 replies

Are these really equivalent?

Kevin

Kwiziq community member

28 February 2018

28/02/18

I keep seeing material that talks about the importance of distinguishing between them: Dont for a phrasal verb : Le livre dont je t'ai parlé Duquel/etc. for prepositions : Le livre au-dessus duquel j'ai renversé mon café

Chris

Kwiziq community member

28 February 2018

28/02/18

The distinction is a pretty complicated matter and depends also on the register you are using. Here is a page which explains it and also offers a little test in the end to check your understanding: https://www.francaisfacile.com/exercices/exercice-francais-2/exercice-francais-105504.php

-- Chris (not a native speaker)

Kevin

Kwiziq community member

28 February 2018

28/02/18

Thank you, Chris!  I did look at the Français Facile page the other day, which is why I was surprised to see the two possibiities described as equivalent.  

Chris

Kwiziq community member

6 March 2018

6/03/18

I don't see them as interchangeably equivalent. They serve a similar purpose but in some instances you need one where you can't substitute the other. I believe the site to which I postet the link in my previous post explains it pretty well.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Kevin

Kwiziq community member

7 March 2018

7/03/18

Thanks!

Lesley

Kwiziq community member

28 August 2018

28/08/18

I would like to see this question answered by one of the site teachers as the usage presented in this lesson does not seem consistent with that presented in sites such the link offered by Chris, nor with texts such as Grammaire progressive du Français.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

29 August 2018

29/08/18

Hi everyone,

I don't think 'dont ' and 'duquel' are always interchangeable.

In the examples given in the lesson , the verbs all use de :

avoir envie de , avoir peur de, parler de, avoir besoin de ...

In thoses cases you can use any of the possibilities suggested .

Hope this helps!

Arash

Kwiziq community member

29 April 2017

2 replies

De quoi

When do we use de quoi. For example can we say La fourchette de quoi tu te sers était à ma mère.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

1 May 2017

1/05/17

Bonjour Arash ! Actually, you never use "de quoi" in this context! To refer to an object, you will always use "dont", and sometimes "de laquelle". I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

Max

Kwiziq community member

28 May 2017

28/05/17

It seems I use "de quoi" occasionally. I am not a native French speaker, but I speak French frequently and "de quoi" doesn't SOUND incorrect. When If ever would one use "de quoi"? Don't get me wrong - I'd be happy to jettison this expression.

Clare

Kwiziq community member

26 January 2017

3 replies

How do you know which of the appropriate options (de qui, dont, duquel, etc.) you should use?

Does it depend on whether you're speaking or writing? Is one used more frequently in conversation vs. when writing in French? Any additional explanation you can give would be greatly appreciated! I've always struggle with this and can't seem to understand these words enough to employ them. Thank you!

Ron

Kwiziq community member

20 April 2017

20/04/17

- 1) de qui (of/about whom), which can only apply to living things, usually people. - 2) dont -- Use dont if the subordinate clause needs an object introduced by de/d'. Such clauses may indicate possession or they may contain verbs which are followed by the preposition de. Some of these verbs include 'parler de' (to talk about); 'avoir besoin de' (to need); 'avoir peur de' (to be afraid of); 'tenir de' (to take after). - 3) duquel -- The contracted forms of de + quel (of/about which): duquel / de laquelle / desquels / desquelles Note: these forms agree in gender and number with the object they refer to Note: you can never have de or duquel or dont at the end of the clause like in English. e.g. you cannot say La fille qui je parle de / La fille laquelle je parle de / La fille je parle dont (The girl I'm speaking of) Preposition Masculine singular Masculine plural Feminine singular Feminine plural lequel lesquels laquelle lesquelles with à auquel auxquels à laquelle auxquelles with de duquel desquels de laquelle desquelles

Ron

Kwiziq community member

20 April 2017

20/04/17

Lequel, lesquels, laquelle, lesquelles are pronouns, i.e. they are used in place of a noun. They are used to ask the questions 'which one?' or 'which ones?' They assume the number and gender of the nouns they replace and contract with the prepositions à and de. Preposition Masculine singular Masculine plural Feminine singular Feminine plural lequel lesquels laquelle lesquelles with à auquel auxquels à laquelle auxquelles with de duquel desquels de laquelle desquelles

Allen

Kwiziq community member

16 October 2018

16/10/18

Ron,

That is the best and most concise answer/description I have ever seen regarding this subject.

Magnifique.

Regards

Allen (AB)

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