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French grammar - Who and that - the subject relative pronoun qui

Who and that - the subject relative pronoun qui

The indefinite pronoun qui means 'who' and refers to people.

But qui can also be used as a subject relative pronoun that refers to the subject of a sentence or clause. In this case, it can mean either 'who' or 'that'.

-- This is equivalent to the 'that' in the sentence 'The apple that is green'. The 'that' is the subject (pronoun) of the verb 'to be'.

People, animals and objects can all be referred to using the relative pronoun qui.

And the relative pronoun can refer to singular and plural subjects.

Also note that qui NEVER becomes qu' in front of a vowel or mute h-.

Qui est-ce ?
Who is this?

The indefinite pronoun qui is the subject

Qui est à la porte ?
Who is at the door?
Qui est cet homme ?
Who is that man?
La pomme qui est verte.
The apple that is green.

As a relative pronoun qui is the subject of the second clause - qui est verte

Les pommes qui sont vertes.
The apples that are green.

The relative pronoun qui refers to a plural subject

J'ai un fils qui est étudiant à l'université.
I have a son who is a university student.

qui can refer to both people and things

J'ai des enfants qui sont étudiants à l'université.
I have children who are university students.
Je veux une maison qui est petite.
I want a house that is small.

qui est does NOTcontract to qu'est

Le musée qui est célèbre n'est pas ouvert.
The museum which is famous is not open.
L'homme qui est dans le coin, c'est mon oncle.
The man who is in the corner, he is my uncle.

coin (m ) means 'corner'

Ce sont les trains qui sont vraiment rapides.
Those are the trains that are really fast.
Celui-ci est le train rapide qui va directement à Marseille.
This one (here) is the fast train that goes directly to Marseille.

directement means 'directly'

Le chien qui est là-bas est perdu.
The dog that is over there is lost.

perdu (adj) means 'lost'

Ce sont les gens qui veulent du café.
These are the people who want coffee.

gens ( means 'people' (only ever used in the plural)

C'est la dame qui a cinq fils.
That is the lady who has five sons.
Est-ce qu'il y a un bus qui va au centre-ville ?
Is there a bus that goes to the center of the city?
Oui, il y a plusieurs bus qui vont au centre-ville.
Yes, there are several buses that go downtown.
C'est qui le gars qui est dans le journal aujourd'hui ?
Who's the guy who in the newspaper today?