FR: ce qui / ce que / ce dont

mezzrai

Member
US English
En anglais ce serait la distinction entre "that which" or "the thing which"
En fait, cette distinction n'existe pas en anglais. On utilise le plus souvent "what" dans les deux cas. Par exemple:

I know what you did.
People fear what cannot be explained.
 
  • Dzienne

    Senior Member
    English - United States (midatlantic)
    Je lis une histoire dans mon livre pour ma classe français. Quelle partie de la grammaire est "ce que"? C'est égale à "what" en anglais quand on la trouve dans une phrase? Par exemple: "Lisez la deuxième partie pour voir ce que le papa de Josette a fait." En anglais, je suppose ce serait: "Read the second part to see what Josette's dad did."

    Merci beaucoup! :)
     

    Tim~!

    Senior Member
    UK — English
    You've understood it perfectly.

    We actually use the equivalent "that, which" quite often in more formal or archaic registers of English.

    In the case of this example, you may wish to translate it in your head as "... to see that [thing] which Josette's dad did."
     

    pacadansc

    Senior Member
    English
    Lisez la deuxième partie pour voir ce que le papa de Josette a fait.
    Correct. Most of the time, ce que and ce qui are translated as what.
    Sometimes which fits better with ce qui.

    Dis-moi ce qui s'est passé : Tell me what happened.

    ... ce qui prouve le vieux dicton. : ... which proves the old saying (true).
     

    tigerlily.x

    Member
    English - England
    Salut :)

    Est-ce vous pouvez me donner des exemples de la usage de "ce que", "ce qui" et "que"? Je ne suis pas sûr quand je devrais utiliser chaque expression :(
     

    maybe4ever

    Senior Member
    US english
    Je ne comprends pas ce que le prof a dit.
    Je sais ce qui est bien et ce qui est mal, ce qui est belle et ce qui est sale.

    normally ce que is followed by a subject and a verb
    and ce qui is followed by a verb.

    although I have seen instances of ce que followed by a verb, I don't know how to use ce que in that way.
     

    Tonton Christian

    Senior Member
    French Belgium
    My advise is to dissociate "ce" from "qui/que/quoi", pronouns that introduce a complement of information. (proposition relative ou adjective)
    I think the best way for you to clarify this question is to revise the usage of the relative pronouns : Qui, que quoi, lequel, dont, où .
     

    quinoa

    Senior Member
    french
    "ce qui" précède un verbe et "qui" est sujet. (ce qui = la chose qui)
    "ce que" précède une proposition qui renferme un sujet, et que est complément d'objet direct (ce que = la chose que)
    Le procureur démontre la présence du suspect sur les lieux du crime, ce que l'accusé réfute.
    Mais on pourrait avoir une inversion sujet-verbe ce que réfute l'accusé.
     

    jxi1827

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Je sais ce qu'est ton rêve. However, Je sais ce qui est ton rêve is not correct.
    […] I read through [this thread], but I still don't understand why it would be ce que and not ce qui in this case. After all, the word following is a verb, so isn't the "ce que" acting as a subject, meaning it should be "ce qui"? Thanks again for all the help.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Être can take an object - c'est un homme que (not qui) je suis - and this is the same thing apart from the verb is inverted. It's the same (although you could not write this in normal usage) as "je sais ce que ton rêve est".
     

    jxi1827

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Wait, so it can not take an object? I'm confused since people are saying different things. When you say que is a complement, I'm not sure I completely understand. Could you maybe reword that part? I was taught to use ce qui if the following word is a conjugated verb because you then know that the word before is the subject, meaning you use qui.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    No, être is an intransitive verb, and therefore never takes an object.
    Grammatically it functions as if it does with subordinate clauses - calling it a complement rather than an object is purely a matter of terminology. Grammatically "l'homme que je suis" functions in the same way whether the verb is être or suivre.

    jr364574 - être is a very special verb (a copula) and in traditional analysis is viewed as taking a complement rather than an object (the idea being that the two things are equated rather than a verb being done to one of them). However, if you treat the relationship of "ce que" as an object you get the right answer.
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    No, être is an intransitive verb, and therefore never takes an object.
    Être is indeed not transitive but predicative (attributif in French). That being said, the predicate of a relative clause whose antecedent is in the main clause is also que as if the predicate were a direct object. In other words, it is only a matter of terminology as suggested by Tim.
     
    Last edited:

    jxi1827

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I'm confused on examples like "Je sais ce qu'est l'arthrite"and not "Je sais quel est l'arthrite" or "Je sais ce qui est l'arthrite" As I read above, ce qui is used before verbs, but in this case, ce que is used. Why? Someone said it is because it's the predicate in this case, but I'm unsure. Thanks!
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    In "Je sais ce qu'est l'arthrite", l'arthrite is the subject, and ce que is the complement:

    Je sais ce qu'est l'arthrite.
    = "I know what arthritis is." (Note the word order.)

    In an English relative or interrogative clause, the "who" or "what" has to come first, but the subject always comes before its verb. In a French relative or interrogative clause, it is often more natural to put the subject after its verb.

    Suppose I know that John is a carpenter. I could say "Je sais qui est charpentier" = "I know who is a carpenter", or "Je sais ce qu'est John" = "I know what John is." Notice what the change in subject does in each language.

    My French is a little rusty, but I believe we can make l'arthrite into a complement:

    Je sais lequel est l'arthrite.
    = "I know which (one) is arthritis."
    The subject here is lequel.

    Is "Je sais ce qui est l'arthrite" a valid sentence? I don't know, but "I know what is arthritis" is valid just as "I know which is arthritis" is valid. However, it is a less-ordinary thing to say than "I know what arthritis is."

    "I know what arthritis is" allows "what" to represent something like "painful" ("Arthritis is painful" is what we usually say, not "Painful is arthritis"), but "I know what is arthritis" requires "what" to represent something more specific, such as "this painful condition" (We can say "This painful condition is arthritis"). The less specific the actual referent of "what", the less likely it is to be the subject and the less likely is the word order "I know what is arthritis."
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    A few comments:
    • In a relative clause, qui is always the subject, while que is always the object or predicate. See also the thread FR: qui / que / dont.
    • To decide which is appropriate between qui and que, it is usually a good idea to change the relative clause to a standalone sentence.
    • In ce qui or ce que, the antecedent of the relative clause is ce. It refers to a phrase, thing or concept, which depends on context.
    • In relative clauses starting with que, you can optionally invert the subject and verb. See also FR: Inversion sujet-verbe dans les propositions relatives (introduites par que, dont, où)

    L'arthrite est une inflammation des articulations. → The definition is the predicate, so you should use que: Je sais ce que l'arthrite est. = Je sais ce qu'est l'arthrite. (Ce refers to the definition of arthritis.)
     

    janpol

    Senior Member
    France - français
    On peut rencontrer des phrases qui sont pertinentes aussi bien avec "que" qu'avec "qui' :

    Ce sont des complaintes que chantent les amoureux de la poésie.
    Ce sont des complaintes qui chantent les amoureux de la poésie.

    Il y a là une chaumière qui cache un bosquet.
    Il y a là une chaumière que cache un bosquet.
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Elles sont certes pertinentes, mais elles ne sont pas interchangeables, n'ayant pas le même sens.

    Je ne trouve en outre pas d'exemple convaincant avec ce qui, ce que, sujet de ce fil…
     

    Kleu

    Member
    Spanish and English - USA
    I sometimes get confused when to use ce dont instead of ce que/ce qui. I have 3 sentences for which I had to choose and I believe that all three require ce dont (or maybe the teacher is tricking us). Est-ce que c'est vrai, ce dont ils parlent? Des bonnes notes, ce dont m'inquiète. je vais vous envoyer tout ce dont vous avez besoin.

    Merci.
     

    Itisi

    Senior Member
    English UK/French
    Est-ce que c'est vrai, ce dont ils parlent? :tick:
    Des bonnes notes, ce dont m'inquiète. :cross: ce qui m'inquiète
    Je vais vous envoyer tout ce dont vous avez besoin. :tick:
     

    Kleu

    Member
    Spanish and English - USA
    Do you mean that it is " Des bonnes notes, ce dont je m'inquiète"? Or is it Des bonnes notes, ce qui m'inquiète (as per itisi).
     

    Oddmania

    Senior Member
    French
    Hi,

    The second example doesn't really make sense because it's not a complete sentence. Literally, it amounts to saying "Good grades, which I'm worried about." :confused:

    ...ce dont je m'inquiète. → ...which I'm worrying about.
    The verb is "s'inquiéter de quelque chose" (= to worry about something).

    ...ce qui m'inquiète....what worries me.
    The verb is "inquiéter quelqu'un" (= to worry somebody).​
     

    pizzazzman2000

    Member
    English, Bengali
    Hello experts,
    I was listening to a news clip today, and I came across the following excerpt:
    "Les conditions de détention en Égypte doivent être respectées ! C'est ce que martèle Paris après la mort d'un jeune égyptien en prison le week-end dernier."

    I am confused by the use of "CE QUE". Based on what I learnt in grammar, when you are replacing the subject of the next sentence, one needs to use CE QUI.
    In other words, I believe the correct form of the 2nd sentence should be:
    "C'est ce qui martèle Paris après la mort d'un jeune égyptien en prison le week-end dernier."

    Can someone please explain why they have used CE QUE instead?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
     

    H-406

    Banned
    Français
    Hello,

    Let's break the sentence down.
    1. C'est = It is
    it = (le fait que) les conditions de détention...
    2. ce que = that which (object, not subject)
    3. martèle Paris = Paris is the subject of the verb marteler. The subject and verb can be swapped around in this construction. I'm guessing that's what had you confused.
    "Le fait que les conditions..." (1) is the object of marteler, not its subject. Hence the use of ce que.

    It is the point that Paris (the government in Paris? a Paris-based NGO? I'm not sure) is trying to hammer home.
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    2. ce que = that which (object, not subject)
    Only literally. In standard English you would rather say what.

    @pizzazzman2000: You were probably confused by the subject-verb inversion. The difference is as follows.
    C'est ce que martèle X = C'est ce que X martèle = That's what X is hammering. (ce que/"what" is the direct object; X is the subject of the relative clause)
    C'est ce qui martèle X = That's what is hammering X. (ce qui/"what" is the subject; X is the direct object of the relative clause)

    Moderator note: The off-topic discusion about that which vs. what has been moved to the relevant thread.
     
    Last edited:
    Top