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Relative Pronouns

The Lesquels vs. à qui, pour qui, etc.

When the antecedent is a person, and is the object of a preposition following the verb in the relative clause, the relative pronoun generally used is that preposition and qui.

L'extra-terreste à qui j'ai parlé vient de la galaxie d'Andromède.
The alien to whom I spoke comes from the galaxy of Andromeda.

When the antecedent is not a person, the lequel family of relative pronouns should be used.  The right lequel family member agrees in gender and number with the antecedent.

 
Singular Plural
Masculine
lequel lesquels
Feminine
laquelle lesquelles

Voici les plans de guerre ennemis pour lesquels beaucoup d'agents secrets ont sacrifié leur vie.
Here are the enemy battle plans for which many secret agents sacrificed their lifes.

C'est l'outil avec lequel je fixerai le robinet.
It is the tool with which I will fix the faucet.

Voilà le le champ de bataille sur lequel les armées se sont battues.
There is the battlefield on which the armies fought.

Les lois sont les toiles d'araignée à travers lesquelles passent les grosses mouches et où restent les petites. -- Balzac
Laws are the spider webs) through which the big flies pass, and the small ones remain trapped.

When à or de is the preposition, it fuses with the lequel pronoun (except for the singular feminine form).

 
Singular Plural
Masculine
auquel auxquels
Feminine
à laquelle auxquelles

Les questions auxquelles on répond par oui ou par non sont rarement intéressantes.-- Julien Green
Questions to which one responds with yes or no are rarely interesting.


 
Singular Plural
Masculine
duquel desquels
Feminine
de laquelle desquelles


Sometimes in formal written speech a lequel family member is used when modifying a person.

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