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Passerelles ep. 1, Quiz 52: dont

When it comes to relative pronouns, “dont” might be relatively more difficult. What do you think? Can you use it or do you find a bit of a mixup in your mind? Dive into background and its nuance in today’s quiz. Take a listen and challenge your ear with this unique relative pronouns and other…

This clip is from Passerelles Episode 1. Listen and fill in what you hear below. Read more and find a translation below. Listen to the full episode here.

7 seconds, 15 words

This audio sample and transcription is from Passerelles ep. 1. We do not own the content. Listen to the entire episode

, ' ' '.
décalagemanièredontperçoit, ' ' 'subjectif.
décalagemanièredontseperçoit, c'est qu'onappelle l'âgesubjectif.


Read on about the interesting relative pronoun dont below!

What’s opening up for you with this clip?

The snippet in English

Find a translation of this snippet here, how much of this did you hear?

Ce décalage dans la manière dont on se perçoit, c’est ça qu’on appelle l’âge subjectif.

This discrepancy in the way we perceive ourselves is what we call subjective age.

The above translation from Deepl. Source

What does “ce décalage” mean?

“Ce décalage” translates to “this discrepancy” or “this gap” in English. It is used to highlight a difference, misalignment, or inconsistency between two things or situations.

It can refer to a time difference, such as jet lag or a time shift.

  • “Ce décalage horaire me fatigue.” (This jet lag is making me tired.)

Highlighting a difference between expectations and reality.

  • “Il y a un décalage entre ce qu’il promet et ce qu’il fait réellement.” (There’s a discrepancy between what he promises and what he actually does.)

Used to describe a difference or gap between cultures, generations, or societal groups.

  • “Ce décalage culturel peut parfois causer des malentendus.” (This cultural gap can sometimes cause misunderstandings.)
  • “Il y a un décalage” – There is a discrepancy/gap.
  • “Avoir un décalage avec” – To be out of sync with or to have a gap with.

“Décalage” comes from the verb “décaler” which means to offset or to shift. The noun form captures the idea of something being out of alignment or not matching up.

Remember, “ce” is a demonstrative adjective and is used here to specify which discrepancy is being talked about.

As we saw in the previous lesson, as well, “ce décalage” is a versatile phrase in French. It’s useful for pointing out differences or misalignments in various contexts. Whether it’s time zones, cultural nuances, or simple inconsistencies, this phrase will help you articulate those observations accurately in French conversations.

What does “dont” mean?

Understanding “dont” can be a game-changer in mastering French relative pronouns. This little word holds the key to more fluid and nuanced sentences.

“Dont” is a French relative pronoun, which means it’s used to introduce a subordinate clause. It can often be translated into English as “whose,” “of which,” or “that” in specific contexts involving possession or a preceding preposition like “de.”

It can be used to indicate a relationship of possession or belonging. Example: “Voici le garçon dont le frère est dans ma classe.” (Here’s the boy whose brother is in my class.)

Some French verbs require “de” after them, especially when followed by an infinitive. When referring back to an object of such a verb, “dont” is used. Examples: “C’est le livre dont j’ai besoin.” (That’s the book I need.) “Il parle d’un projet dont il rêve depuis longtemps.” (He’s talking about a project he’s been dreaming of for a long time.)

“Dont” can be used to signify a reason or cause. Example: “Il est malade, dont son absence aujourd’hui.” (He’s sick, which is the reason for his absence today.)

Or for expressing a part of a whole. Example: “Il y a beaucoup de livres, dont trois que j’ai déjà lus.” (There are many books, three of which I’ve already read.)

Here are some common pitfalls to remember: “Dont” is often confused with other French relative pronouns like “que” or “qui.” Remember, “dont” is specifically used in contexts involving “de” whether for possession, certain verbs, or partitive expressions. English speakers sometimes overuse “dont” by trying to fit it into contexts where “que” would be more appropriate.

Fun Fact: While “dont” might seem tricky to many learners initially, with consistent exposure and practice, it becomes one of the most cherished tools in the French learner’s toolkit because of the elegance and compactness it brings to sentences.

The word “dont” in French is a relative pronoun that serves to introduce additional information about something previously mentioned, particularly in contexts of possession or when the preposition “de” is involved. Grasping its usage can elevate your French sentence construction to a more sophisticated level!

What does “c’est ça que” mean?

The charm of casual French often lies in its fluid, sometimes merging phrases like “c’est ça qu’on.” Curious about how to incorporate these into your daily language diet? Dive in!

“C’est ça qu’on” can roughly be translated to “it’s that which we…” in English, but it’s used in French to give emphasis or specificity. Think of it as “that’s what we…”

Highlighting a particular point or action. Example: “C’est ça qu’on aime!” (That’s what we love!)

Asking for confirmation or clarity. Example: “C’est ça qu’on doit faire?” (Is that what we should do?)

Specifying or indicating a choice from several possibilities. Example: “C’est ce film qu’on va voir ce soir?” (Is that the movie we’re going to watch tonight?)

Some Similar Phrases:

  • C’est ce que: Directly translates to “it’s what.” Used similarly to give emphasis. Example: “C’est ce que je pense.” (That’s what I think.)
  • C’est lui/elle qui: Emphasizes a specific person responsible for or related to an action. Example: “C’est lui qui a tout mangé.” (He’s the one who ate everything.)
  • C’est pour ça que: Means “that’s why” or “it’s for that reason that.” Example: “C’est pour ça que je suis parti tôt.” (That’s why I left early.)
  • C’est là que: Used to specify a particular place or moment in a story or narration. Example: “C’est là que tout a changé.” (That’s when everything changed.)

While these phrases are popular in spoken French, they might be deemed a bit redundant in formal written contexts. However, they capture the essence of conversational French and help learners sound more natural. These expressions are flexible. For instance, “on” in “c’est ça qu’on” can be replaced with other pronouns, like “je” or “tu”, depending on the subject: “c’est ça que je” (that’s what I…).

Expressions like “c’est ça qu’on” and its variants are essential in understanding and participating in natural, informal French conversations. They add emphasis, specificity, and a touch of authenticity to one’s speech. By mastering these, you’ll be one step closer to sounding like a native!

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When it comes to relative pronouns, “dont” might be relatively more difficult. What do you think? Can you use it or do you find a bit of a mixup in your mind? Dive into background and its nuance in today’s quiz. Take a listen and challenge your ear with this unique relative pronouns and other…

1 thought on “Passerelles ep. 1, Quiz 52: dont”

  1. Thank you so much for explaining how and when to use “dont”. I was not able to get a clear understanding of the use of this word with the reference books I have on hand. Your examples have helped me to feel more confident in using this word in conversation.


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