10.3. o qual, a qual, os quais, as quais

Nouns can be referred to with quem, que or o qual / a qual / os quais / as quais. Obviously only the last one can match in gender and number with the noun, because quem and que are invariable. O qual / a qual / os quais / as quais is mostly used after polysyllabic prepositions or after prepositions consisting of several words. In the case of monosyllabic prepositions there is a preference for que (in case that the object referred to is a thing or a person) or quem (in case that the object referred to is a person).

Sem and sob are the exception to this rule. Although this prepositions being monosyllabic qual / quais is used.Since there is an article in front of qual / quais the preposition can clash with an article. We should therefore remember what has been said in 4.1.1.

o a os as
aaoàaosà
de do da dosdas
em no na nos nas
porpelopelapelospelas


Ele é o homem pelo qual todos nós temos respeito.
He is a man for whom all we have respect.
He is the man respected by all of us.
Conhecimentos sem os quais não se consegue viver.
Knowledge without of it not somebody achieve to live
The kind of knowledge one can't live without.
Essa é a perspectiva sob a qual a relação social entre trabalho e capital é concebida.
This is a perspective under which a relationship social between work an capital is considered.
This is the perspective from which the social relationship between labour and capital is perceived.
A equipa contra a qual ninguém quer jogar.
The team against which nobody wants to play
 
Estavam inscritos 32 pilotos entre os quais quatro portugueses.
Were enroled 32 pilots between which four porutuguese.
32 pilotes were enroled, among them four Portuguese.
As circunstâncias entre as quais você vive determinam sua reputação.
The conditions between which you live determine your reputation.
The way you are perceived depend on the living conditions you are living in.
Uma afirmação contra a qual os pais se opuseram.
An assertion against which the parents themselves opposed.
An assertion not accepted by the parents.


Since a qual / o qual / as quais / os quais matches in gender and number with the noun, it is possible, at least if the referred object is unambiguous, to avoid ambiguity using a qual / o qual / as quais / os quais instead of que / quem.

O filho da Maria, que estuda frances, esta na Francia agora.
1) The son of Maria, who studies French, is in now in France. => The son of Maria studies French.
2) The son of Maria who studies French, is in now in France. => Maria studies French.
=> It is unclear whether que rerfers to Maria or her son.

We can avoid this ambiguity by using o qual / a qual / os quais / as quais, because the son of Maria is masculine and Maria feminine.

O filho da Maria, a qual estuda frances, esta na Francia agora.
Maria studies French.
O filho da Maria, o qual estuda frances, esta na Francia agora.
The son of Maria studies French.


Obviously that only works if the nouns differ in gender or number.

Without any preposition qual can only be used in nonrestrictive relative clauses.

correct: Estavas à procura do livro que encontrei.
wrong: Estavas à procura do livro o qual encontrei.


Furthermore there is a strong preference for que in case of monosyllabic prepositions. In case of polysyllabic prepositions there is a preference for qual. Sem and sob are exceptions to this rule.




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