French Grammar: Variable Interrogative Pronouns

FRNGrammarVariableInterrogativePronouns

French Grammar: Variable Interrogative Pronouns
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French Grammar: Variable Interrogative Pronouns
(Lequel/Lesquels/Laquelle/Lesquelles)

French Interrogatives (les interrogatifs) are words that are used to ask questions! (They interrogate!) Asking different kinds of questions will help you manage every kind of day-to-day interaction in French. You need to ask questions in order to find out what’s going on! 

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A “yes/no” question is one that can simply be answered by “yes” or “no”.  Interrogatives (interrogatifs) are words that are used to ask for more detail than simply “yes” or “no”! (They interrogate!)

Variable interrogative pronouns are those pronouns which must change in order to agree in both gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural) with the noun to which they refer.  Variable interrogative pronouns stand alone – they are never used with a noun.  The variable interrogative pronouns in French are:

LEQUEL? (masculine singular) : which (one)?

Lequel de ces pays avez-vous visité?
Which (one) of these countries have you (formal) visited?

LESQUELS? (masculine plural) : which (ones)?

Lesquels de ces pays avez-vous visité?
Which (ones) of these countries have you (formal) visited?

LAQUELLE? (feminine singular) : which (one)?

Laquelle de ces cravates est-ce qu’il achète?
Which (one) of these ties is he buying?

LESQUELLES? (feminine plural) : which (ones)?

Lesquelles de ces cravates est-ce qu’il achète?
Which (ones) of these ties is he buying?

NOTE:  LEQUEL / LESQUELS / LAQUELLE / LESQUELLES can also be used directly after a preposition (à, de (d’), avec, dans, pour …).

NOTE:  When LEQUEL, LESQUELS, or LESQUELLES is preceded by the preposition à or de, the usual contraction takes place.  That is, à (or de) + LEQUEL (or + LESQUELS or + LESQUELLES) are combined into one word, as follows:

À + variable interrogative pronoun:

à + lequel = AUQUEL (masculine singular) : to which (one)?

à + lesquels = AUXQUELS (masculine plural) : to which (ones)?

à + lesquelles = AUXQUELLES (feminine plural) : to which (ones)?I

NOTE:  As usual, there is no contraction between à + laquelle.  It remains à laquelle.

DE + variable interrogative pronoun:

de + lequel = DUQUEL (masculine singular) : from / of / about which (one)?

de + lesquels = DESQUELS (masculine plural) : from / of / about which (ones)?

de + lesquelles = DESQUELLES (feminine plural) : from / of / about which (ones)?

NOTE:  As usual, there is no contraction between de + laquelle.  It remains de laquelle.

Adapt:

Lequel de ces livres lis-tu?
Which (one) of these books are you (informal) reading?

Je lis ce livre-ci.
I am reading this book.

Lesquels de ces garçons jouent au football?
Which ones of these boys play soccer?

Jacques et Pierre jouent au football.
Jacques and Pierre play soccer.

Ta soeur est laquelle des filles?
Your (informal) sister is which one of the girls?

Ma soeur est la plus grande des filles.
My sister is the tallest of the girls.

Lesquelles sont tes camarades de chambre?
Which ones are your (informal) roommates?

Ces deux femmes là-bas sont mes camarades de chambre.
Those two women over there are my roommates.

Auxquelles des étudiantes est-ce que tu parles?
To which (ones) of the students (feminine) are you (informal) speaking?

Je parle aux étudiantes dans ma classe.
I am speaking to the students (feminine) in my class.

Maurice vient d’un pays francophone?  Duquel?
Maurice comes from a French-speaking country?  From which one?

Il vient de la Suisse.
He comes from Switzerland.

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