"From whom is that letter?"
Translation:De qui est cette lettre ?
"ça" is short from "cela" and it is a pronoun meaning "that thing".
You cannot use it as a determining adjective before a noun.
- "lettre" is feminine, so you need "cette".
- "book" is masculine and would need "ce".
- "arbre" or "homme" ismasculine and starts with a vowel sound, and would need "cet"
- "lettres et livres" are plural and would need "ces"
I assume you were suggested: "De qui cette lettre est-elle ?" or "Elle est de qui, cette lettre ?".
These are formal interrogative forms, where the real subject "cette lettre" (feminine singular) is repeated in the form of the personal pronoun "elle", refering to that letter.
It is correct, but not exhaustive:
- "qui" is a subject and can translate to "that, who, which"
- "qui" can be an indirect object with a preposition: "à qui, de qui, avec qui..." (to/from/with whom, to/from/with which)
- "que" is a direct object and can translate to "that, whom, which" (+ who for non-purists).
The other relative pronouns are "quoi, dont, où".
To confirm 1-"à qui, de qui, avec qui..." may all have the potential to = whom when qui is an indirect object. 2-Can I ask this question using "que" instead of "qui"?
1) Yes, re. the second line of my previous post.
- C'est la personne à qui je parle = He/She is the person I am talking to.
- Pierre est l'homme avec qui je voyage = Pierre is the man with whom I am traveling.
- Voici le lecteur de qui j'ai reçu une lettre = Here is the reader from whom I received a letter
2) "Qui" as an interrogative pronoun always represents one or several human beings.
- Qui est là ? = Who's here/there?
- A qui parles-tu ? = To whom are you talking?
- Avec qui voyages-tu ? = With whom are you travelling?
The interrogative "que" represents a thing:
- Que veux-tu ? = What do you want?
- Qu'est-ce que tu fais = What are you doing?
So, you should be careful to not confuse "qui/que" as relative pronouns and "qui/que" as interrogative pronouns.
"Dont" is a relative pronoun you cannot use to ask a question.
- C'est cette lettre dont je parle (parler de) = It is this letter I am talking of/about.
- C'est cette lettre dont l'envelope est bleue (possessive "l'enveloppe de la lettre")= It is this letter of which/whose envelope is blue.