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I have a question reading my grammar book explaining qui vs que... I get the usual explanations where it explained qui is used as the subject and que is used as the direct object of the dependent clause. However there came a subsequent section where it says

// Note the following sentences where qui is the object of the verb in the dependent clause. In this case, a subject noun or pronoun comes between qui and the verb form

(example) Je ne sais pas qui il est. Le président n'a pas dit qui il nommerait à ce poste. //

I'm a little confused how do these differ from sentences where que is used...? The book didn't explain further, the only difference I can sort of see when comparing the above with the que examples is in these cases where qui is used as the object the object's identity is unknown...

Thanks very much!

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    Welcome to FSE. Please provide an example of a sentence where que is used and that you find confusing compared to you qui examples. – jlliagre May 1 at 11:56
  • Hi, thanks very much for your reply, for example - //J'ai contacté l'ébéniste que tu as recommandé. //Rends-moi le livre que je t'ai prêté. //Les articles qu'il vend sont chers. I understand why que are used in the above based on the explanation "que is used when the relative pronoun is the object of the verb", but then so would the qui examples in my original post...? Thanks – xkv May 1 at 12:18
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  • Apparently, when the relative pronoun stands for a noun present in the antecedent main clause and when this relative pronoun plays the role of direct object, the right pronoun is " que"

Le président n'a pas indiqué la personne QU'il ( = que il) nommerait à ce poste.

Here the relative pronoun refers to the noun " la personne".

  • When there is no noun (in the main clause) for the relative pronoun to stand for, the pronoun is " qui" ( in spite of the fact that this pronoun plays the role of direct object).

Le présidient n'a pas dit qui il nommerait à ce poste.

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It's like English.

I don't know who he is. Je ne sais pas qui il est.

The president did not say who(m) he would appoint to the post. Le président n'a pas dit qui il (i.e. le président) nommerait à ce poste.

Qui est-ce qui ? Je ne sais pas qui il est.

Qui nommerait-il (i.e. le président) ? Il n'a pas dit qui il nommerait à ce poste.

Cf.

I contacted the cabinetmaker you recommended. J'ai contacté l'ébéniste que tu as recommandé. (Complément d'objet animé)

Qui est-ce que tu as contacté ? J'ai contacté l'ébéniste que tu as recommandé.

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