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Hello grammarians!

I was looking for a thread about the above mentioned relative pronouns (I think that is what they are called) but was unable to find one, which was a little bit surprising.

Therefore I ask the question. When do we use "lo que" (el que, la que) and when do we use "lo cual" (el cual, la cual).

I have done a little bit of research and found one explanation about the distance between a relative pronoun and the noun it describes being relevant but it didn't really help.

I was wondering if, as there is a clear distinction between the uses of "qué" and "cúal" in questions, this in some way influences the use of said relative pronouns. Beyond that, I have been unable to identify any kind of pattern and so need some help!

  • Posted May 12, 2009
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2 Answers

2 Vote

Hello grammarians!

I was looking for a thread about the above mentioned relative pronouns (I think that is what they are called) but was unable to find one, which was a little bit surprising.

Therefore I ask the question. When do we use "lo que" (el que, la que) and when do we use "lo cual" (el cual, la cual).

I have done a little bit of research and found one explanation about the distance between a relative pronoun and the noun it describes being relevant but it didn't really help.

I was wondering if, as there is a clear distinction between the uses of "qué" and "cúal" in questions, this in some way influences the use of said relative pronouns. Beyond that, I have been unable to identify any kind of pattern and so need some help!

I think that you're covering a lot of grammar in your questions.

I think your questions need to be further broken down in to "How do I determine when to use the neuter lo cual/que .vs. el/la cual/que? or "how to determine when the antecedent of the relative pronoun is abstract or neuter'"

Then you need to consider whether el/lo que or el/lo cual is used which I would think mirrors the use of qúe and cuál in questions which you seem to already be familiar with.

suggestions clipped from online article:

Lo que
Lo que has a slightly different meaning from el que, and is usually used as the connotation of "the thing that" or "what".

Lo que hiciste era malo. - The thing that you did was bad.
Lo que creí no es correcto. - What I believed is not right.
Splitting "lo que" and adding an adjective in between changes the meaning slightly.

Lo importante es que tenemos hogar. - What is important is that we have a home.
Lo mejor es que pierdas peso. - The best thing is that you lose weight (for the time being).

[edit] El cual
The pronoun el cual can replace [el] que. It is generally more emphatic and formal than [el] que. Note that it always includes the article. It derives from the Latin QVALIS.

It has the following forms: el cual, la cual, los cuales, las cuales and the neuter lo cual.

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Thank you for the answer Qfreed

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