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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Candice here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I'll answer your most common French questions.
The question for this lesson is When should I use lequel, auquel, and duquel?
Now as you might remember from a previous lesson, we use que, qui, and dont to combine two sentences. We can also use lequel, auquel and duquel to also combine sentences. Let’s take a look at when we should use them.
Lequel can mean “which.” We can use it to ask a question when the object is known. For example, Quel livre veut-il? meaning “What book does he want” can become Lequel veut-il? meaning “Which one does he want?”
Passe-moi l’assiette. means “Pass me the plate.” Laquelle? means “Which one?”
Notice anything different? Unlike “which” in English, lequel has to agree with the gender and noun. So we also have lequel, laquelle, lesquels which has an ‘s’, and lesquelles which ends with l-l-e-s. Makes sense, right? Le, la, and les are the definite articles. And you add -l-e to the end to make it feminine and -s to make it plural. Lequel, laquelle, lesquels, and lesquelles.
We can also use lequel to combine a sentence with a preposition. Why can’t we just use que or qui? Well, because of the preposition. In spoken English, we often end sentences with a preposition. “It’s the tool I repaired the wall with.” But you want to avoid this in French. Take the sentence C’est l’outil que j’ai réparé le mur avec. This is understandable, but not correct. C’est l’outil avec lequel j’ai réparé le mur. “It’s the tool with which I repaired the wall.” It sounds much better. Let’s look at some more examples. First, Le cahier dans lequel j’écris means “the notebook in which I write.” L’entreprise pour laquelle elle travaille means “the company for which she works.” Finally, Les photos dans lesquelles Big-foot figure sont floues means “the images in which Big Foot appears are blurry.”
What if the preposition is à or de? In these cases you can’t use lequel; you have to use auquel or duquel. It just sounds more natural. And auquel and duquel must agree in gender and number as well. Auquel, à laquelle, auxquels, auxquelles. Duquel, de laquelle, desquels, desquelles. An example is Les livres auxquels je fais reference... meaning “The books to which I am referring...” Le magasin près duquel je travaille... meaning “The store near which I work…” Lastly, let’s talk about we use duquel in this case, and not dont. This is because it’s a prepositional phrase. So remember – for phrases like près de, à côté de, and en face de use duquel not dont.
Pretty neat, right?
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
A bientôt, see you soon!