In English 'relative pronouns' are the words who, which, whom, whose, where, what, when and that. They are either used to clarify the person or object being referred are to supply more information about them or it. For example which is the relative pronoun in this sentence: This is the book which I like best. There is not a direct correlation between French and English, also in English some are used interchangeably (sometimes wrongly, technically).
|qui||who, which||Voici mon ami qui joue au netball = This is my friend who plays netball||qui is followed by a verb, and refers back to a the person in the sentence|
|que||whom, that||Voici mon ami que je bats au tennis = This is my friend whom I beat at tennis||que is followed by a subject and verb, and refers back to the object in the sentence|
|Voici mon ami dont j'ai parlé = This is my friend whom I mentioned||dont refers back to things you have been talking about|
Note that dont is very similar in usage to que. However with dont there is an implied of e.g. this is my friend of whom I spoke.
|ce qui||what, that which (subject)||je me demande ce qui se passe = I wonder what is happening||ce qui is followed by a verb|
|ce que||what, that which (object)||je me demande ce que je dois faire = I wander what I must do||ce que is followed by a person|
|ce dont||what, that of which||C'est ce dont j'ai peur = That's what I'm afraid of|
Note that ce is used when the original noun isn't mentioned in the sentence.
If the relative pronoun is used with a preposition (in, on, for, before, with, under, etc.) then lequel (m), laquelle (f), lesquels (m pl) or lesquelles (f pl) is used instead These can also be combined with à and de to become:
|auquel (m)||duquel (m)|
|à laquelle (f)||de laquelle (f)|
|auxquels (m pl)||desquels (m pl)|
|auxquelles (f pl)||desquelles (f pl)|