FR: ce qui / ce que / ce dont

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by MelB, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. MelB Senior Member

    Virginia
    United States English
    I have a question about the following portion of a sentence.

    "Et pour chaque voix en dedans de moi qui dit, «ce qui l’on puisse faire dans cet univers est tout petit,» il y en a une autre, qui dit . . ."

    I get sometimes confused with whether "ce qui" or "ce que" is appropriate. They both can mean "what" in English. In the initial sentence I chose "ce qui" because I thought it is a subject for "est." Am I correct to have used "ce qui" instead of "ce que"?

    Moderator note: multiple threads merged to create this one.
    See also

    FR: qui / que / dont
    FR: que / qui - pronoms relatifs
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
  2. Aupick

    Aupick Senior Member

    Strasbourg, France
    UK, English
    It should be 'ce que'. The reason is that it is not the subject of 'est' but the object of 'faire'. The subject of 'est' is the whole of the preceding relative clause:

    [ce que l'on peut faire dans cet univers] est tout petit

    Or, another (unconventional) way of looking at it is to divide the 'ce que' and see 'que' as the object of 'faire' and 'ce' (defined by the following relative clause) as the subject of 'est':

    ce [que l'on peut faire dans cet univers] est tout petit

    'what you're left with, in effect, is 'c'est tout petit'.
     
  3. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    Yes, I think the others are quite right. If the "what" is doing the verb it is "ce qui" eg "ce qui est incroyable" "what is unbelievable" whereas "ce que" is the object of the verb "ce que j'ai fait hier" "what I did yesterday".

    For completeness sake you can create this construction for any preposition -

    Ce à quoi tu penses - what you are thinking about
    Ce pour quoi tu as tué - what you killed for
    Ce sans quoi tu ne seras jamais libre - what you'll never be free without
     
  4. Anne345 Senior Member

    France
    Neither with subjunctive !
    "Et pour chaque voix en dedans de moi qui dit, «quoi que l’on puisse faire dans cet univers,c'est tout petit,» il y en a une autre, qui dit . . ."

    "Et pour chaque voix en dedans de moi qui dit, «ce que l’on peut faire dans cet univers est tout petit,» il y en a une autre, qui dit . . ."
     
  5. MelB Senior Member

    Virginia
    United States English
    Alors, l'utilisation de "ce qui" ou "ce que" peut être différent si on dit la même chose, mais avec un ordre différent des mots.

    Par example:

    Ce que l’on peut faire dans cet univers est seulement tout petit."

    mais,

    On peut faire dans cet univers ce qui est seulement tout petit.

    Il me semble un peu saugrenu. Non? :)
     
  6. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    Ça c'est les langues, non ?:) En fin de compte je crois que tu te compliques un peu la vie en analysant comme ça. Si "what" fait le verbe c'est "ce qui" si le "what" est un objet direct c'est "ce que" (et si c'est un objet non direct la forme dépend de la préposition comme je l'ai énoncé ci-dessus).
     
  7. MelB Senior Member

    Virginia
    United States English
    Vous avez raison. Ça c'est les langues! Je complique des choses un peu, particulièrement si la réponse n'est pas celle que j'ai voulu entendre. ;) Cependant, merci pour votre réponse, qui est claire.
     
  8. zonbette Senior Member

    France
    French
    comme l'a dit Aupik:

    qui s'emploie lorsque le pronom est le sujet du verbe auquel il est rattaché (ce qui est agréable à lire - qui est sujet du verbe être)

    et que lorsqu'il est l'objet (ce que je pense - je est le sujet penser et que le complément d'objet)
     
  9. Flame-Surfer

    Flame-Surfer Senior Member

    London
    English, UK
    Sorry for another question so quickly, but what can I say, I love to learn!

    Ce qui, Ce que et Ce dont, all mean: what.

    But when you use them?!

    Merci en avance,

    Alex.
     
  10. Hyppolite

    Hyppolite Senior Member

    Paris, France
    France, French, English
    It depends on what follows.
    Je sais ce que tu fais = "ce" is the direct object (faire quelque chose) of the verb "faire"
    Je sais ce qui me fait plaisir = "ce" is the agent of the verb "faire plaisir"
    Je sais ce dont j'ai envie = "ce" is the indirect object (avoir envie de quelque chose) of the verb "avoir envie"
    Hope it's clear enough..
     
  11. Flame-Surfer

    Flame-Surfer Senior Member

    London
    English, UK
    Yeh thanks that clears so much stuff up! especially with the "Ce dont" one!! :)!!
     
  12. Mikeyp028

    Mikeyp028 Senior Member

    Oswego NY in the USA
    english USA
    Salut. Que est aide. Supportive proof: Je sais ce dont j'ai envie = "ce" is the indirect object (avoir envie de quelque chose) of the verb "avoir envie"... Mais, quoi est l'mots "avoir envie"? Merci en plus.
     
  13. Napoleon64 New Member

    Canada English
    And when do you use dont or ce que or ce qui?
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  14. Napoleon64 New Member

    Canada English
    When would you use le pronom relatif dont as opposed to ce qui ou ce que. I am confused as to the rule regarding this. Merci!
     
  15. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    "dont" means "of which" or "of who". Le livre dont je vous ai parlé - the book of which I spoke to you - the book I talked to you about.

    ce qui and ce que both mean "what", but "ce qui" is a subject and "does" the verb and "ce que" is the object and has the verb done to it.

    Ce qui t'inquiète (c'est le...)- what is worrying you (is the...)
    Ce que je ne comprend pas - what I don't understand.

    You can think of both "ce qui" and "ce que" as literally "that which".
     
  16. marget Senior Member

    Dont is used if the verb in the relative clause would require a de after it.

    Voilà le livre dont j'ai besoin. (J'ai besoin de ce lvre et le voilà)

    Ce qui is a subject relative pronoun when we don't have a specific antecedent (word to which we're referring): Ce qui est intéressant, c'est le cinéma français.

    Ce que is the direct object equivalent: Ce que tu dis m'intéresse beaucoup.

    Ce dont is the equivalent that we use with a verb requiring de after it: Prends ce dont tu as besoin.
     
  17. pitstop

    pitstop Senior Member

    Great Britain
    United Kingdom
    Hi
    Could someone please explain, or point me in the direction of an explanation, of the above terms. I'm confused about when they should be used and why you would use them instead of using 'que' on its own?

    Thanks
    Pitstop
     
  18. JynnanTonnyx

    JynnanTonnyx Junior Member

    Strasbourg
    English speaker - Ireland
    In my experience, ce qui and ce que replace the English 'what' in alot of french sentences:

    I can't see what's on the table - Je ne peux pas voir ce qui est sur la table

    And que and qui replace the English 'that' or 'who'.

    I can't see who's at the table - Je ne peux pas voir qui est à la table

    These are by no means hard and fast rules and I know comparing everything to English is a terrible way to learn French but thinking like this always helped me when I wasn't sure.
     
  19. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    "ce que" is used when a NOUN follows it
    "ce qui" is used when a VERB follows it

    for example:

    "Je ne sais pas ce que le garçon a fait" (le garçon being a noun)
    "Je ne sais pas ce qui se passe" (se passer being a verb)
     
  20. zaby

    zaby Senior Member

    When you use "ce que" or "ce qui", "ce" stands for a whole clause.
    For example :
    Il donne toujours des conseil à Paul, ce qui est sympathique. -> C'est le fait qu'il donne des conseils qui est sympathique
    Il donne toujours des conseil à Paul qui est sympathique -> c'est Paul qui est sympathique

    Sometimes, what ce stands for is not explicit :
    Ce que je pense n'a pas d'importance.
    Je ne te dirai pas ce qui ne va pas
    This examples wouldn't make sense without "ce". "que" and "qui" need to refer to a noun or a pronoun
    EDIT: Reading Jynnan's post, I realize that what I wrote just above is wrong.
    "Qui" is used instead of "ce qui" when talking about a person : "Je ne te dirai pas qui est venu".
     
  21. zaby

    zaby Senior Member

    This is tricky because you could say "Je ne sais pas ce que fait le garçon"
    Here que is followed by a verb ;)

    que / ce que are used when they are the object complement in the relative clause and when they stand for inanimate (Je ne sais pas ce que le garçon a fait. Je connais un secret que je ne révèlerai jamais)

    qui/ ce qui are used when they are the subject in the relative clause (Je ne sais pas ce qui se passe; j'ai repris du gateau qui est si bon). Qui can also be used for persons when it is an object complement in the relative clause (je ne sais plus qui je dois croire).
     
  22. Dumpling New Member

    English, New Zealand.
    C'est tres difficile pour moi utiliser "ce qui" et "ce que". Je ne comprends pas quand je dois les utiliser.

    If those sentences didn't make sense, the problem is I don't know how to identify when I need to use "ce qui" and "ce que". I have read the grammar rules and understand that they are to be used to refer to something unstated and unspecificed and "ce qui" functions as the subject and "ce que" as the direct object. I just seem to not be able to identify when they are functioning in this ways.

    Does anyone have any useful tips that will help me identify when to use which one?

    For example: I don't know how to identify which one to use in the following phrases (although according to a test I did they are correct)
    Ce qui est dommage, c'est que Paw-Paw habite si loin.
    Ce que Tex regrette, c'est que Paw-Paw telephone tout le temps.

    Merci beaucoup!!!!:)
     
  23. Monsieur Hoole Senior Member

    Canada English
    ce que + subject + verb
    eg. ce que je veux

    ce qui + verb
    ce qui est très intéressant

    M.H.:)
     
  24. Dumpling New Member

    English, New Zealand.
    thanks a lot, that was very helpful :)
     
  25. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    If you replace "ce qui" with just "ce" alone (or "cela") you will end up with a good sentence:
    "ce qui est dommage" >> :tick:"c'est dommage"
    This will not work with "ce que", even in cases where the subject does not follow immediately:
    "ce que son père regrette" >> :cross:"ce son père regrette"
    "ce que regrette son père" >> :cross:"ce regrette son père"​
     
  26. capri7 Junior Member

    hindi, India
    hello
    can you explain the difference between "ce que, ce qui et ce dont"
    thanks
     
  27. Sickduck Senior Member

    Montreal, Quebec (Canada)
    French - Canada
    ce que = direct complement
    ce qui = subject
    ce dont = indirect complement
     
  28. capri7 Junior Member

    hindi, India
    if im not wrong, direct compliment means the object or the thing you are talking about, right!
     
  29. Sickduck Senior Member

    Montreal, Quebec (Canada)
    French - Canada
    Not quite. Some verbs in French (such as: manger, aimer, etc..) are followed immediately by a complement (not compliment), which is called a direct complement. Some other verbs (like parler, réfléchir, etc..) are separated from the complement by a preposition, hence the indirect complement.
     
  30. Petrie787 Senior Member

    English, United States
    I am aware that both of these two phrases mean "what" but I am hazy on the way in which they can be used.
    For example, does this sentence translate correctly?

    "I don't know what to do!" --->

    "Je ne sais pas ce qui faire!"

    Or this one...

    "Tell me what happened."

    "Dites-moi ce qui s'est passé."

    Thanks!
     
  31. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    Dites-moi ce qui s'est passé is ok, but for the other one: Je ne sais pas quoi faire. It's also possible to say je ne sais que faire, in a quite old-fashioned way.
     
  32. 89I Senior Member

    Toronto
    Canada English
    Both are relative pronouns.

    Ce que/ce qu' (object) is followed by a subject.
    Il fait ce que vous demandez.
    Il fait ce qu'on demande.

    Ce qui (subject) is followed by a verb
    Il fait ce qui est important. (the "i" on qui is not dropped before a vowel like the "e" on que).
     
  33. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    Beware of the pronoun that can follow que/qui. If it's not the subject of the verb that follows, qui has to be used:
    Il fait ce qui me plait.
    Il dit ce qui lui passe par la tête.
     
  34. marget Senior Member

    Isn't it possible to have a verb and subject inverted, as in "Je ne sais pas ce que font ces gens-là"?
     
  35. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    Yes, it is possible, but it's not required. Just a question of style. Je ne sais pas ce que ces gens-là font is as correct as the other one, even if less usual.
     
  36. marget Senior Member


    Merci beaucoup !:)
     
  37. capri7 Junior Member

    hindi, India
    hi
    how can u make out where to use "ce qui" "ce que" or "ce dont'...they have almost the same meaning as i think.
    thanks
     
  38. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    Ce qui is used as a subject of a verb, ce que is the direct object of a verb (even though it written before it), and ce dont (of which) is an indirect object that includes the preposition de, or of.

    Moderator note: please make your best effort to use proper capitalization and spelling (you, rather than u). Thanks.
     
  39. stupot

    stupot Senior Member

    Scotland, English
    i'm really struggling to understand the difference between 'ce que' and 'ce qui' ... i don't know when to us ce qui really i just normally use ce que unless it's a phrase such as '' .......... which was great '' ''......... ce qui était génial ''


    Il y a quelqu'un qui peut m'aider?? merci d'avance xxx
     
  40. mysteriouscreep Senior Member

    England
    English
    I want what he has! = Je veux ce qu'il a! (ce que)
    I know what's the problem! = Je sais ce qui est le probleme! (ce qui)

    "Ce que" if it's going to be followed by a subject (Je, nous, André, mes parents, etc ...)
    "Ce qui" if it's going to be followed by a verb.

    (Au moins, c'est ce que j'ai appris!)
     
  41. stupot

    stupot Senior Member

    Scotland, English
    thanks that's a lot clearer!
     
  42. ammaarah Junior Member

    england-english
    what's the difference between ce qui, ce que and ce dont?
     
  43. Avignonais Senior Member

    USA
    USA, Anglophone
    ce qui -- fits in the subject position in the sentence or clause. thing. Example: Ce qui me dérange est ce bruit

    ce que -- which, fits in the object position. Thing only (not sure about person?). Example: Ce que je lui ai dit est de venir tout de suite

    ce dont -- of which, object position. Thing (not sure about using with persons). Example: Ce sont les choses dont je t'ai parlé
     
  44. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    Ce qui/que/dont can only be a thing, not a person…
     
  45. Avignonais Senior Member

    USA
    USA, Anglophone
    Thanks, Maître Capello.

    With people then do we use "celui qui", "celle qui", and "ceux qui"?

    As well as, ceux que, ceux dont..?
     
  46. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    :thumbsup: Exactly!
     
  47. sudest Senior Member

    Turkish
    C'est ce qui me dérange.=That's what bother me
    C'est ce que je lui ai dit.=That's what I told him
    I'm not sure. If I'm wrong you can correct me.
     
  48. itka Senior Member

    France
    français
    But... Is it not exactly the same in english ?
    to love somebody - to speak to somebody

    So, please, try to understand the meaning of these words in english and then you'll see, it will be very clear in french !
     
  49. sudest Senior Member

    Turkish
    Can you give any suggestion about the reply that I gave above?
     
  50. Laürenar

    Laürenar Senior Member

    Paris
    France, français
    [...]

    @Sudest : your sentences are correct.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008

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