When to use "en" as a pronom relatif in French?
I understand dont, ce que, qui, etc. But, I don't know when to use "en"?
- TangiLv 75 years agoFavorite Answer
You do not use "en" as a pronom relatif, the only relative pronouns are qui, que, quoi, dont, où (plus their variations : ce qui, ce que, ce dont) and lequel (plus its variations in gender and number and when combined to a preposition : auquel, duquel, lesquelles, etc).
"En" is either a preposition or a personal pronoun.
As a personal pronoun, it replaces a direct object starting with "de" or with a partitive article (du, de la, des) or with an indefinite but not quantity.
For example :
- J'ai du thé (I have tea) => J'en ai (I have some)
- Tu viens d'Italie (You come from Italy) => Tu en viens (You come from there)
- Il mange trois poulets (He eats three chickens) => Il en mange trois (He eats three (of them))
In your two sentences, it's a personal pronoun.
Moi et Sophie, on en a eu = Me and Sophie, we had some
Moi et Sophie en avons eu = Me and Sophie had some
"Moi et Sophie en a eu" is not correct
Here, "en" replaces something in an indefinite quantity. It could be du miel (honey), de l'eau (water), des bonbons (candies), etc.
Also, when conjugating in a compound tense with the auxiliary avoir, normally the past participle agrees in gender and number with the direct object if it's placed before the verb. This is not true any more when the direct object has been replaced with "en".
That's why it would always be "on en a eu" and never "on en a eue", "on en a eus" or "on en a eues".
For the second sentence, there are two possibilities.
It can be like in the first sentence and refer to something in an indefinite quantity, in this case :
J'en ai voulu comme cadeaux pour ma cousine = I wanted some as a present for my cousin.
But "vouloir" can also be used with the preposition "de" so the sentence could be "J'ai voulu de [something]" and in this case, "en" replaces the "de [something]" part.
So it would translate to "I wanted it as a present for my cousin".
Sorry, I don't know how to explain explicitly in English the difference between "vouloir" and "vouloir de"