“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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