Translation:This is the panda that was born in this zoo.
Relative pronouns are used to link two related ideas into a single sentence, thereby avoiding repetition.
In the above example, the relative pronoun qui introduces the subordinate clause, that is, the clause that adds additional information about this panda. In French there are two main relative pronouns, qui and que. The choice between qui and que in French depends solely on the grammatical role, subject or direct object, that the relative pronoun plays in the subordinate clause.
Qui functions as the subject of the subordinate clause whether it is a person or a thing.
All you have to know is the function of the referred word in the relative clause.
In this instance, The panda that was born in this zoo.
In this sentence, the referred word panda is the subject of the relative clause that was born in this zoo.
What was born in this zoo? The panda . Therefore, you should use qui in French. C'est le panda qui est né dans ce zoo
However, if panda was a direct object, then the relative pronoun would be que regardless if it is a person or a thing. For example:
"I saw a panda yesterday. The panda was huge."
J'ai vu un panda hier. Le panda était énorme.
Here panda is the direct object of both sentences → What did I see? The panda. What was huge? The panda. Therefore, to prevent the repetition of the direct object, panda ....
"The panda I saw yesterday was huge."
Le panda que j'ai vu hier 'était énorme.
Note: When que is followed by a word beginning with a vowel there is a contraction eg: qu'est for que est however qui est never contracts.
Such a helpful answer! Thank you! I really was just wondering why 'qui est' was not contracted but learned so much more. :)
Fantastic explanation, Ripcurlgirl! Thank you.
I always remember that
Que is followed by a noun or pronoun (which becomes the subject of the clause).
Qui is followed by a verb (because qui itself is the subject of the clause.)
So the quick rule is
- "que before a noun; qui before a verb."
I know this isn't complete, but does it work as a rule of thumb?
When "that" replaces a person or an animal, we use "qui". When it replaces an object, we use "que"
That doesn't sound quite right. I'm going with the explanation of Ripcurlgirl.