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In this sentence:

Je suggère que nous réduisions notre usage de voitures et utiliser les transports en commun dont au lieu.

Is the usage of dont correct and can it be used in this way?

  • 1
    No, it adds nothing here. (To test it yourself, dont can almost always be translated either "whose" or "of which".) There are a couple of other issues with the sentence; not much time right now, but if I get a chance later on to answer properly before someone else does I'll do so. – Luke Sawczak Sep 23 '18 at 22:47
  • Please do, my French is only at a basic level (learning at high school), and I'd love to learn more, especially about relative pronouns. – user491194 Sep 23 '18 at 22:48
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I have no idea about what you expect dont to mean in that sentence but it's definitely incorrect here.

Here is how I would rephrase it:

Je suggère que nous réduisions notre usage de voitures particulières et utilisions les transports en commun à la place.

or

Je suggère de réduire notre usage de voitures particulières et d'utiliser les transports en commun à la place.

Instead of à la place, you might also use plutôt:

Je suggère de réduire notre usage de voitures particulières et d'utiliser plutôt les transports en commun.

  • Thank you, I was trying to use dont as a way to say ‘use public transport instead’ and I assumed you needed de after au lieu. – user491194 Sep 23 '18 at 23:23
  • I understand. You can't use au lieu in this sentence. The English "in lieu", despite its obvious French origin, translates to à la place while au lieu de... translates to "instead of..." – jlliagre Sep 23 '18 at 23:36
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    @jlliagre The mistake lies rather in thinking that because "instead of X" can be translated « au lieu de X », therefore "instead" (the natural word to end this sentence in English) can be translated « au lieu » by capturing the implicit "de X" with a pronoun. In any case, I agree with the recommendation! – Luke Sawczak Sep 23 '18 at 23:42
  • Thanks to both of you! If one of you wouldn't mind, could you check my French paragraphs once I've finished writing them. You both seem very competent in the language. – user491194 Sep 23 '18 at 23:52
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    @LaurentS. What I meant is we can't use au lieu without significantly changing the sentence structure: réduisions notre usage is a show stopper for au lieu. – jlliagre Sep 24 '18 at 14:29

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