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Complete post:

Feb

07

2013

“En fait, je ne savais pas trop ce que je voulais…”

“In fact, I didn't really know what I wanted……”

One of our listeners asked about the words ce que in the sentence above, from one of our early lessons, (Lesson 27: "Wow! Your hair looks great!").

In this situation, the combination ce que equates to the relative pronoun what in English. Literally, ce que means 'that which'. It is a pattern we will meet very frequently in French.

Let's consider some examples:

  • Ce qu'ils nous annoncent est choquant!
    = What they are announcing to us is shocking!
  • Ce que j'aime faire le samedi, c'est...
    = What I like to do on Saturdays is to...
  • Ce que tu m'as dit me rappelle un article que j'ai lu hier.
    = What you have said to me reminds me of an article I read yesterday.
  • As-tu fait ce que je t'ai demandé de faire?
    = Have you done what I asked you to do?

But, be careful, this has nothing to do with the interrogative pronoun What? or Which?

  • Quelle question?= What/which question?
  • Quel livre lis-tu en ce moment?= What book are you reading at the moment?

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