Level B2 – French Relative Pronoun DONT

This is a comprehensive lesson on the French relative pronoun DONT for upper-intermediate B2 level learners.  This advanced level lesson includes a grammar video tutorial (scroll down to watch) in which I explain rules and show you plenty of examples so you can see how this pronoun is used in context. I will guide you through a 24 minute video, and you will feel as if we’re sitting together in a private lesson! 

Relative pronouns link two parts of a sentence together.  They make relative clauses and main clauses relate to one another.  By using relative pronouns you can avoid repetition.

👉 There are 5 relative pronouns in French:

DONT – OÙ – QUE – QUI – LEQUEL
In this lesson we will focus on DONT because it’s definitely the trickiest to use.

👉 DONT replaces:

DE + PERSON or THING (like the pronoun EN which isn’t a relative pronoun). Relative pronouns are necessary in French, but they’re often optional in English.

👉 Look for the preposition DE:

  • Je te parlais de mon ami. Voici mon ami.
  • Saying mon ami twice is repetitive.

👉 DONT is the SOLUTION TO REPETITION…

  • Voici mon ami.  Je t’ai parlé de mon ami.
  • C’est mon ami dont je t’ai parlé.

👉 The preposition DE is essential.  You can’t just get rid of it, but you can replace it with DONT.

  • Voici mon ami dont je te parlais.
  • Here is my friend (of whom) I was speaking.
  • Here’s my friend who I was speaking to you about.

👉 Remember that you can also use the pronoun EN to replace DE, but not to link two clauses.

  • Je te parlais de mon ami.
  • Je t’en parlais.
  • I was talking to you about him.

👉 Look for the preposition DE:

  • C’est un joli jardin.  Je m’occupe de ce joli jardin. 
  • Saying joli jardin twice is repetitive.

👉 DONT is the SOLUTION TO REPETITION…

  • C’est un joli jardin.  Je m’occupe de ce joli jardin.
  • C’est le joli jardin dont je m’occupe.

👉 DE is essential.  Replace it with DONT.

  • C’est le joli jardin dont je m’occupe.
  • This is the garden (of which) I take care.
  • This is the garden (that) I take care of.

👉 Remember that you can also use the pronoun EN to replace DE.

  • Je m’occupe de ce joli jardin.
  • Je m’en occupe.
  • I take care of it.

👉 Look for the preposition DE:

  • C’est une robe.  Je n’aime pas la couleur de cette robe. 
  • Saying robe twice is repetitive.

👉 Common French expressions that are followed by DE and used with DONT:

AVOIR BESOIN DE – TO NEED

  • Ce sont des ingrédients. J’ai besoin d’ingrédients. 
  • Ce sont les ingrédients dont j’ai besoin. 
  • These are the ingredients (that) I need.

RÊVER DE – TO DREAM ABOUT

  • Ce sont des chaussures.  Je rêve de ces chaussures!
  • Ce sont les chaussures dont je rêve!
  • These are the shoes (that) I’m dreaming of!

AVOIR PEUR DE – TO BE AFRAID OF

  • C’est un gros rat.  J’ai peur de ce gros rat.
  • C’est le gros rat dont j’ai peur.
  • That’s the big rat (that) I’m afraid of.

SE SOUVENIR DE – TO REMEMBER

  • C’était un voyage.  Je me souviendrai toujours de ce voyage.
  • C’était un voyage dont je me souviendrai toujours.
  • That was a trip (that) I will always remember.

SE RAPPELER DE – TO REMEMBER

  • C’est un vieux film.  Je me rappelle de ce vieux film.
  • C’est un vieux film dont je me rappelle.
  • It’s an old film (that) I remember.

PARLER DE – TO TALK ABOUT

  • C’est un moment difficile.  Je ne parle jamais de ce moment difficile.
  • C’est un moment difficile dont je ne parle jamais.  
  • It’s a difficult time (that) I never talk about.

S’OCCUPER DE – TO TAKE CARE OF

  • C’est un petit garçon.  Je m’occupe de ce petit garçon.
  • C’est un petit garçon dont je m’occupe.
  • That’s a little boy (that) I take care of.

AVOIR L’HABITUDE DE – TO BE USED TO

  • C’est un vieil ordi.  Je n’ai plus l’habitude de cet ordi.
  • C’est un ordi dont je n’ai plus l’habitude.
  • It’s a computer (that) I’m not used to anymore.

SE MÉFIER DE – TO BEWARE OF – TO DISTRUST

  • C’est une personne malhonnête. Il faut se méfier de cette personne.
  • C’est une personne dont il faut se méfier. 
  • This is a person to beware of.

SE MOQUER DE – TO MAKE FUN OF

  • C’est un homme politique. Tout le monde se moque de cet homme politique.
  • C’est un homme politique dont tout le monde se moque. 
  • He’s a politician that everyone makes fun of.

SE RENDRE COMPTE DE – TO BECOME AWARE OF

  • C’est une erreur.  Je me suis rendu(e) compte de cette erreur.
  • C’est une erreur dont je me suis rendu(e) compte. 
  • It’s a mistake that I became aware of.

SE SERVIR DE – TO USE

  • C’est un couteau.  Je me sers de ce couteau tous les jours. 
  • C’est un couteau dont je me sers tous les jours. 
  • This is a knife (that) I use every day.

What’s included in this French relative pronoun DONT lesson?

👉 STEP 1:  Print out your 6 page lesson guide on the relative pronoun DONT. Have it handy for taking notes and for writing your own examples during the video lesson.

👉 STEP 2:  Watch the 24 minute video lesson to learn how to use this pronoun. After carefully watching the lesson you can move on the the resources in the following sections.

👉 STEP 3:  6 sudoku puzzles to help you become familiar with 20 French expressions that are commonly used along with DONT. 

👉 STEP 4:  Written exercise (1 – 25). Link relative and main clauses with DONT. Answer key is included.

👉 STEP 5:  Practice speaking cards (1 – 25). Use these cards to practice oral production when using the pronoun DONT. The sentences are not the same ones you saw in the written exercise

Included:

  • 25 numbered practice cards – 4 per page for printing and cutting out
  • 25 numbered practice cards (the same ones) – 1 per page for online use
  • Numbered answer key

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