Qui = Who, which, that (relative pronouns)

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 pronoun (e.g. me, te, se, lui, le, la, nous, vous, leur, les, etc) , and use que if 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 (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.

ATTENTION:

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:

Prepositions + qui, lequel, laquelle, etc : on what, behind whom, beside which (relative pronouns)

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

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

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Examples and resources

Je lis un livre qui s'appelle "Orgueil et Préjugés".I'm reading a book which/that is called "Pride and Prejudice".
Ces fleurs, qui sont des tournesols, poussent bien ici.These flowers, which are sunflowers, grow well here.
Elle a un collier qui appartenait à sa grand-mère.She has a necklace which/that belonged to her grandmother.
C'est l'imagination qui étend pour nous la mesure des possibles, et nourrit les désirs par l'espoir de les satisfaire.
(Jean-Jacques Rousseau)
It's the imagination that extends for us the measure of what's possible, and feeds desires with the hope of satisfying them.
(Jean-Jacques Rousseau)
J'aime le chocolat qui vient de Suisse.I like chocolate which/that comes from Switzerland.
Nous étudions un livre qui s'appelle "Moby Dick".We are studying a book which/that is called "Moby Dick".
Subject, verbs and objects (direct and indirect) MADE EASY!
Marie connaît Julien qui joue de la guitare.Marie knows Julien who plays guitar.
Vive le vent d'hiver, 
Qui s'en va sifflant, soufflant,  
Dans les grands sapins verts, oh !
Long live the winter wind, 
that goes whistling, blowing, 
through the big green pine trees, oh!
Il adore les restaurants qui servent de la cuisine italienne.He loves the restaurants which serve Italian food.
Il a mangé une pizza qui avait une pâte fine.He ate a pizza which/that had a thin crust.
Et tout là-haut le vent,
Qui siffle dans les branches...
And all above the wind,
Which whistles in the branches...
Tu as reçu une lettre qui est de ta cousine.You received a letter which/that is from your cousin.
Clever stuff underway!