Relative pronouns (I pronomi relativi) connect phrases and sentences replacing one or more elements.
|Masculine singular||Feminine singular||Masculine plural||Feminine plural||English|
|Che||Che||Che||Che||Who / which / that|
|Cui||Cui||Cui||cui||Who /which / that (preceded by a preposition)|
|Il quale||La quale||I quali||Le quali||Who / which / that (formal/less used)|
Let's analize some sentences.
|Il computer che mi hai regalato non funziona.||The computer (that) you gave to me as a present doesn't work.|
|Potrei sapere il motivo per cui state litigando?||May I know the reason why you are fighting?|
|Questa è la legge della quale parlavamo.||This is the law we were talking about.
This is the law of which we were talking.
|La ragazza che sta cantando è mia cugina||The girl who is singing is my cousin.|
|Il panino che ho mangiato per pranzo era buonissimo.||The sandwich (that) I had for lunch was amazing.|
|Nel Paese da cui provengo non esiste una cosa del genere.||In the Country I'm from there is no such thing.
In the Country from which I come from there is no such thing.
Unlike English, Italian relative pronouns can never be omitted.
Che is a connector between different phrases with common elements; it replaces the subject or the direct object complement.
It translates as who, which or that, depending on the context.
It is never preceded by a preposition.
|Il libro che mi hai regalato è molto bello.||The book (that) you gave me is very good.|
|Gli avvocati che conosco sono piuttosto bravi.||The lawyers (who) I know are quite capable.|
|Ho letto il rapporto che hai scritto ieri.||I read the report (which) you wrote yesterday.|
|Vedo la casa che dicevi.||I can see the house (that) you talked about.|
|Il quadro che hai dipinto è un capolavoro.||The painting (that) you painted is a masterpiece.|
Cui replaces the indirect complement and it is always preceded by a preposition.
It translates as who, which, that depending on the context.
|L'aereo su cui viaggiamo è un Boeing 747.||The plane we're travelling on is a Boeing 747.
The plane on which we travel is a Boeing 747.
|La cioccolata di cui vado matto è fatta in Svizzera.||The chocolate I go crazy about is made in Switzerland.
The chocolate of which I go crazy is made in Switzerland.
|L'Italia è un Paese a cui teniamo molto.||Italy is a country we care a lot about.
Italy is a country of which we care a lot.
|Il fatto di cui abbiamo discusso è molto grave.||The event (of which) we discussed about was very serious.|
|Questa è la ragione per cui ho accettato questo lavoro.||This is the reason why I accepted this job.
This is the reason for which I accepted this job.
Il quale replaces the subject, the direct object complement or the indirect complements.
This pronoun translates as who, which and that and changes according to gender and number of the element it replaces.
|Singular masculine||Singlular Feminine||Plural masculine||Plural feminine|
|Il quale||La quale||I quali||Le quali|
It is considered more formal than cui or che, so it's typical of written contexts.
|La ditta per la quale lavoro ha sedi in tutta Europa.||The firm I work for has offices all over Europe.
The firm for which I work has offices all over Europe.
|Ti presento le ragazze con le quali vado al bar.||I present you the girls whom I go to the pub with.|
|Ne ho discusso con Roberto, il quale non sembra d'accordo.||I talked about it with Roberto, who doesn't seem to agree.|
|I fratelli Wright, ai quali si deve il primo modello di aereo.||The Wright brothers, thanks to whom we had the first model of an airplane.|
|Le persone alle quali telefonerai sono interessanti.||The people whom you're going to phone are interesting.|
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