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I have been thinking and looking for answers for this for a long time, and I still can't find any answer. How, in French do you say something like "I have things to work with", "They have no people to talk to", "She has nothing to think about, and etc. in French?

I'll be using the sentence "I have someone to work with" for my examples.

Could you say:

J'ai quelqu'un à travailler avec

But I don't think that's correct since it has "avec" at the end.

J'ai quelqu'un avec qui je travaille

or

J'ai quelqu'un qui avec je travaille

or do you use a completely drop the "J'ai" style and instead use "Il y a"? I need a lot of help with this, this has confused me so much recently, thanks!

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Most of the time you can use the form:

sujet - verbe conjugué - COD - préposition - pronom relatif - verbe infinitif

For example:

I have nobody to talk with. -> Je n'ai personne avec qui parler.

  • "Je" (I) is the subject
  • "ai" (have) is the verb
  • "personne" (nobody) is the COD
  • "avec" (with) is the préposition
  • "qui" is a relatif pronoun. It refers to the COD ("qui" when it is a person, "quoi" the rest of the time, except when you put nothing. This point is quite random, if someone have more details I will gladly edit this answer)
  • "parler" (to speak) is an infinitive verb ("n'" is here because of "personne" which makes the sentence a negation)

With this template you can build sentences like

I have someone to work with. -> J'ai quelqu'un avec qui travailler.

She has nothing to think about. -> Elle n'a rien à quoi penser.

They have problems to deal with. -> Ils ont des problèmes à traiter.

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  • Oh wow! So I was sort of right... Thanks a ton! :D Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 12:53
  • So I could say "I have someone who I can work with" could be "J'ai quelquen avec qui je peux travailler"? Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 12:53
  • yes, without the typo :) : "j'ai quelqu'un avec qui je peux travailler". BTW "j'ai quelqu'un avec qui je travaille" is grammatically correct and is a clumsy way to say "I work with someone", whithout the notion that this person is here in the case you need him but more like you work everytime with him. Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 13:01
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Your keyword in this case is "lequel" and "qui".

  • "I have things to work with" translates to "J'ai quelque chose avec lequel travailler" or "j'ai quelque chose pour travailler" ("I have something with which to work")

  • "They have no people to talk to" translates to "Ils n'ont personne avec qui parler". (also means "They have none with whom to talk".

  • "She has none to think about" translates to "Elle n'a personne à qui penser" or "Elle n'a rien à quoi penser" ("She has nothing to think about")

All of these expressions need and extra word that is unnecessary to use in english, hence your difficulty to deal with those expressions (quoi, qui, lequel etc.)

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    Oh wow that's very complex, but thanks for taking your time to answer! Thanks! Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 12:00
  • No problem, i hope this helps.
    – MorganFR
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 12:02
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    "J'ai quelque chose avec lequel travailler" is incorrect, should be "J'ai quelque chose avec quoi travailler".
    – jlliagre
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 13:39

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