French: use of lequel (people or just things)?

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Hi! Quick French question here. My textbook tells me that lequel and qui are used as relative and prepositional pronouns, and that lequel (and its inflected/contracted forms) is used only for things, whereas qui is used for people. But then it goes on to give as example sentences:

Il parlait aux étudiants parmi lesquels plusieurs venaient d'outre-mer.
Quels sont les gens auxquels vous écrivez?
C'est un homme énigmatique autour duquel beaucoup d'autres se groupent.


...So what's going on here?? :doh:
 
Wuzzadeel, @bumblebee? Yiz gunna do yiz job'ses fuh Chrayssakes? Are you PMing her as we speak?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Yeah, what dialect is that?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
It's obviously some form of English, whether real or imaginary I know not.
 
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Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
It sounds more normal than your post looked.
 
The pleonastic plural (you's guys) is a real feature, but it's often exaggerated for effect, like on Futurama.
 

LCF

One of "those" people
He is awesome... the guy from Boston....
 
Had a hunch you'd say that.
;)
 

Issacus Divus

H₃rḗǵs h₁n̥dʰéri diwsú
illum qualis!?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Well, more like illum qualem, I guess.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Off the top of my head, just like that... Maybe I'll miss things but, the most important thing to know, I think, is that you shouldn't use "qui" after a preposition if you're talking about a thing. "Le livre avec qui je t'ai tapé sur la tête" sounds ludicrous because it sounds, indeed, as if the book were somehow a person.

Other than that, they're often interchangeable, though lequel will sound rather more formal in some contexts; e.g. "Cicéron, lequel fut, de l'avis de tous, le plus grand des orateurs romains..." sounds like something you might read in a book or hear in a formal speech, whereas "Cicéron, qui fut..." sounds a tad more everyday (though the rest of the wording is still kind of formal).
 

Issacus Divus

H₃rḗǵs h₁n̥dʰéri diwsú

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Come to think of it, there's also a distinction between defining and non-defining relative clauses. Forms of lequel will be used in defining ones only after prepositions, I think.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Cf.

The book, which was good, was on the table.
=
Le livre, qui était bon, était sur la table.
Or
Le livre, lequel était bon, était sur la table.
Both are OK, though the second one sounds very formal.

But
The book that was good was on the table.
=
Le livre qui était bon était sur la table.
Le livre lequel était bon était sur la table.
 
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Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
The French questions people ask on here often concern things I've never thought about, so I need to think to figure out the rules myself. The rules are there somewhere in my head, but at a subconscious level, and I have to extract them from there to bring them to the conscious level.
 
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