I am not sure when to use qui and when to use lequel ou laquelle. I would like to have a precise answer.

2 Answers 2


From https://frenchcrazy.com/2013/12/french-relative-pronouns-dont-qui-que-lequel-ou.html/ :


Qui can refer to people or things and is used as the subject of a dependent clause. Because qui becomes the subject of the sentence it is always followed by a conjugated verb and must agree in number with the antecedent it is referring to.

« On critique les films qui montrent trop de nudité. » → "People criticize films that display too much nudity."


The relative pronoun lequel (and all of its forms) replace a preposition (other than de) and a thing/object in a relative clause. Make sure that the pronoun agrees in both number and gender to whatever it is describing.

« Une langue est un prisme à travers lequel ses usagers sont condamnés à voir le monde. » → "A language is a prism across which its users are condemned to see the world."


I have a partial answer that is not academic but helped me a lot in learning to use lequel as an English speaker.

Effectively, just use lequel whenever you want to replace things like:

  • dans (j'ai une boîte dans laquelle je mets tous mes trucs)
  • avec (elle est la fille avec laquelle j'ai parlé hier)
  • sur (c'est la table sur laquelle il y a un gateâu)
  • à traves (c'est la vitrine à traves de laquelle on peut voir le truc) I can't think of any more prepositions but yeah, you get the idea...

Whereas for qui, think of VERBS

  • le mec qui a largué sa copine (qui + larguer)
  • le prof qui est nul (qui + être)
  • le so on so forth

Hope this helps. I am not native speaker so might not be 100 percent correct.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.