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Practising "ce qui" and "ce que"

Ce qui and ce que are not the easiest to practise, but students who manage to use them spontaneously (see - I got the s word in there) usually have a good level of spoken proficiency.

One little way to practise these in a natural, communicative way would be to get students to make a written list of things they love and hate in life. I thought of this after looking at some of those awful random hate comments you find on Twitter - it makes you despair sometimes, doesn't it? In pairs, or with you, they could then share their pet hates and likes, introducing them with these formulae:

(Tu sais) ce que je déteste, c'est...
Ce que j'aime le moins...
Ce qui m'embête...
(Tu sais) ce qui m'agace..
Ce qui me met en colère...
Ce qui m'énerve ...
Ce qui me fait chier (argot) ...

Ce qui me fait plaisir, c'est...
Ce que j'aime beaucoup...
Ce qui me rend heureux...
Ce qui me plaît beaucoup...

Or even (if a bit forced? )

(Tu sais) ce dont j'ai horreur...

I'd suggest giving them some of your own likes and hates. Students might find these interesting or amusing. How about these:

Ce qui m'embête, c'est les commentaires abusifs sur les réseaux sociaux comme Twitter.
Tu sais ce qui m'agace, c'est les commentaires négatifs dans les journaux en ligne.
Ce que je déteste, c'est l'homophobie et la discrimination en général.
Ce que je n'aime pas du tout, c'est les gens qui ne font pas la queue.
Tu sais ce qui m'irrite, c'est les chauffeurs qui s'approchent trop près derrière vous.

Ce que j'aime beaucoup, c'est me réveiller quand il y a du soleil et un beau ciel bleu.
Ce qui me fait plaisir, c'est quand ma femme va me chercher une tasse de thé le matin.
Ce qui me rend heureux, c'est quand je vais à un concert de mon chanteur préféré.
Tu sais ce que j'adore, c'est quand je décolle en avion.
Ce qui me plaît beaucoup, c'est la générosité des autres.

In pairs, once students have written in note form as many likes and dislikes in about five minutes, they can then start saying one each to each other. The first one to run out of things to say is the loser. This usually gets students talking happily and hopefully developing their use of relative pronouns!.


  1. Ce dont j'ai besoin might be better?

  2. Except it doesn't fit the meaning of likes and dislikes.

  3. It could in a slightly metaphorical way? Ce dont j'ai besoin, c'est au moins un litre de café noir avant de quitter la maison la matin. Ce dont j'ai peur, c'est l'idée de mocksted qui m'attend le lundi.

    Nice opportunity to crowbar in some adverbs, too - vraiment, franchement, complètement,

    A colleague taught a whole bunch of phrases like "il faut que je te dise" to GCSE candidates this year. Now they scatter them randomly around their controlled assessment in places that they don't entirely fit, and it's a bit weird, rather than the impressive he was hoping for. Not least because it ends up with them tutoying the examiner or the teacher.

  4. Good examples there. Thanks for leaving a comment. I'm a bit wary of trying to impress examiners with misused set phrases. They don't usually show a deeper understanding, but are just superficially impressive.

  5. From Julia Whyte

    Really liked this post. I used to weave these these through topics such as good and bad points about school, town versus country or whatever topic was on the agenda

    We would come up with a list of pos and negative aspects such as.

    En ville il y a beaucoup de transports en commun.

    Can become ..... ce qui est bien en ville c'est qu'il y a etc

    Si on habite à la campagne il n'est pas facile de retrouver ses amis

    Can become: Ce que je n'aime pas c'est que, si on habite etc

    I would write initials, inspired by Barry Smith, to nudge pupils to produce this type of language.

    C q e b c q or whatever you wanted to elicit.

    I can t write this on your blog I'm afraid!


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