Look at these sentences using qui:
Il a mangé une pizza qui avait une pâte fine.He ate a pizza which/that had a thin crust. Nous étudions un livre qui s'appelle "Moby Dick".We are studying a book which/that is called "Moby Dick". Marie connaît Julien qui joue de la guitare.Marie knows Julien who plays guitar. Il adore les restaurants qui servent de la cuisine italienne.He loves the restaurants which serve Italian food.
Note that qui is used to express both singular and plural which/who, just like in English.
Knowing when to use qui and when to use que can be tricky for English speakers, as we often mistakenly think qui only means who, but it can be used to refer to inanimate objects as well as people.
How to know when to use qui (instead of que) in French
There's an easy pattern to spot when deciding between qui and que to say who, that or which:
Use qui when the following word is a verb or reflexive /object pronoun (e.g. me, te, se, lui, le, la, nous, vous, leur, les, etc), and use que if the following word is a noun (thing or person).
In grammar jargon, we use qui when it's the subject of the verb, and que when it's the object of the verb.
If subjects, verbs, and objects confuse you watch the cartoon video explaining them. They're easier than they sound.
Contrast this with: Que = Whom/which/that (French Relative Pronouns)
Replacing objects and people with qui
Here are examples of sentences being changed so that people and objects are replaced with relative pronouns in both French and English:
Il a mangé une pizza. Cette pizza avait une pâte fine. -> Il a mangé une pizza qui avait une pâte fine.
He ate a pizza. This pizza had a thin crust. -> He ate a pizza that had a thin crust.
Je lis un livre. Ce livre s'appelle "Orgueil et Préjugés". -> Je lis un livre qui s'appelle "Orgueil et Préjugés".
I'm reading a book. A book is called "Pride and Prejudice" -> I'm reading a book which/that is called "Pride and Prejudice".
Marie connaît Julien. Julien joue de la guitare. -> Marie connaît Julien qui joue de la guitare.
Marie knows Julien. Julien plays guitar. -> Marie knows Julien who plays guitar.
Qui never becomes qu' in front of a vowel or mute h: only the letter e can be omitted for pronunciation in this case!
See also the more advanced lessons:
Using [preposition] + qui/lequel/laquelle/etc = on what/behind whom/beside which/etc (French Relative Pronouns)
À + qui, auquel, à laquelle = to whom, what, which (French Relative Pronouns)
De qui/dont/duquel = of/about whom, of/about which - with prepositional verbs with "de" (French Relative Pronouns)
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