1. jacques songo'o Member

    Recently i saw the sentence " Tu sais à quoi il pense?".I believed that when "à quoi" is at the start of a clause it must be preceded by "ce". So why wasn't it in this case? Is it something to do with the sentence being a question rather than a statement?
  2. Tabac Senior Member

    Pacific Northwest (USA)
    U. S. - English
    I'm not sure what you're thinking of. The sentences sounds fine to me as it is. Let's see what a francophone says.
  3. melu85 Senior Member

    It does sound fine. It's just I don't know what to answer to Jacques' question.
  4. Tim~!

    Tim~! Senior Member

    Leicester, UK
    UK — English
    You've answered your own question. If "à quoi" were at the start, it would be preceded by "ce". It's not, so it's not.

    "Ce à quoi il pense l'occupe beaucoup."

    No. "Je me demande si tu sais à quoi il pense" is a statement that is not affected. It's purely the fact that the clause doesn't start with "à quoi", which would necessitate that one append "ce" in front of it.
  5. Trendywendy_41 Senior Member


    So would it be correct to say?

    Dis-moi ce à quoi tu penses.
    Dis-moi à quoi tu penses.

    Je sais à quoi tu penses.
    Je sais ce à quoi tu penses.

    Is it a question of certainty? Je sais à quoi tu penses but Je ne sais pas ce à quoi tu penses?

    I've read that the "Ce" is not used in mid sentence but rather at the beginning of a clause or after c'est - but this rule seems a little grey around the edges?

    Does the "ce" stress the That in "Tell me that what you are thinking"?

    I'm a bit confused (and I really have gone through all the Ce à quoi's on this forum :)

  6. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    Both turns (with or without ce) are correct in your phrases. The only small difference is that including ce sounds a tad more formal.

    Dis-moi (ce) à quoi tu penses.
    Je sais (ce) à quoi tu penses.

    Anyway, note that including ce is required when preceded by another preposition because you can't have two prepositions in a row:

    Je ne me souviens pas de ce à quoi il pense.
  7. Trendywendy_41 Senior Member

    Thank you,

    That was easy :-0
  8. Trendywendy_41 Senior Member

    Hello, I'm glad that I found this post. I too have ben a little confused by when to use "ce" with à quoi.
    In some French tests, one in particular, the correct answer is:
    Tex, tu sais ce à quoi je pense?
    Tu me demandes ce à quoi je réfléchis?
    Does including the ce mid sentence makes it more formal? Would one include it in written French?

  9. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    Regardless of the tests, I would say that following a verb like savoir, dire, se demander, etc. the use of ce would treat the clause as relative, but it could be viewed as an indirect question, in which case the ce would be unnecessary. Personally, I would omit the ce in the case of à/sur/en quoi simply because it seems less cumbersome.
  10. jr364574 Senior Member

    English - American
    Hello everyone,
    I have read some forums on other sites about the difference between "ce à quoi" and "à quoi", but I still don't understand the difference between the two and when to use each one. For example, I'm pretty sure I would say "Tout ce à quoi il pense, c'est l'école", but would you say "Je ne sais pas ce à quoi il pense" or "Je ne sais pas à quoi il pense"? Is there any rule for deciding between the two?

    Thank you in advance :)
  11. janpol

    janpol Senior Member

    France - français
    "à quoi il pense" est seulement précédé d'un verbe : Je me demande à quoi tu penses, je voudrais bien que tu me dises à quoi tu es capable de t'intéresser
    de plus, ces phrases contiennent une interrogation (directe ou indirecte) : "quoi" est un mot interrogatif
    Tout ce à quoi... : il m'a reproché mes absences, ce à quoi j'ai répondu que j'avais été malade, "à quoi" est (généralement) précédé d'un nom, de "tout" et les phrases sont affirmatives. "quoi" me semble être un pronom relatif.
    Il y a peut-être d'autres différences auxquelles d'autres forumeurs penseront...
  12. jr364574 Senior Member

    English - American
    Merci, janpol et tout le monde !

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