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Que/ el cual/ la cual/ los cuales/ quien/ quienes = who, that, which (relative pronouns)

Que

Que can mean who or that/which in Spanish.

Have a look and listen to these examples:

El colegio, que está cerrado, abrirá la semana que viene.
The school, that is closed, will open next week.

Mis amigos, que se llaman Luis y Mario, me visitarán mañana.
My friends, who are called Luis and Mario, will visit tomorrow.

Me encanta esa casa, que está en venta, por cierto.
I love that house, which is on sale, by the way.

As you can see on these examples, que refers to both things and people, and it is an invariable word, i.e it doesn't have to agree in gender or number to what it refers to. 

Quien/ Quienes

The relative pronouns quien and quienes can also be used when it refers to people (never to things). These however do have a singular and a plural form although there is no distinction when it comes to gender.

These can only mean who.

Have a look and listen to the following examples:

Mi vecina Clara, quien es peluquera, tiene su propio salón de belleza.
My neighbour Clara, who is a hairdresser, has her own beauty salon.

Mis vecinos, quienes tienen tres hijos, son muy ruidosos.
My neighbours, who have three children, are very noisy.

El cual/ La cual/ Los cuales/ Las cuales

These relative pronouns also meaning who/which/that in Spanish distinguish between gender and number. They can refer to people and things.

Have a look and listen to these examples:

El director del colegio, el cual trabaja duro, es respetado por todos.
The headteacher, who works hard, is respected by everyone.

Mi madre, la cual tiene 70 años, se siente muy joven.
My mother, who is 70, feels very young.

Estas mesas, las cuales he comprado recientemente, son de madera.
These tables, which I bought recently, are made of wood.

Sus primos, los cuales vivían en Málaga, han emigrado a Colombia.
His cousins, who lived in Málaga, emigrated to Colombia.

Although all these relative pronouns are usually interchangable, bear in mind that quien/quienes/el cual/la cual/los cuales/ las cuales are more formal than que. 

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Estas mesas, las cuales he comprado recientemente, son de madera.
These tables, which I bought recently, are made of wood.


Mis amigos, que se llaman Luis y Mario, me visitarán mañana.
My friends, who are called Luis and Mario, will visit tomorrow.


Mi madre, la cual tiene 70 años, se siente muy joven.
My mother, who is 70, feels very young.


Me encanta esa casa, que está en venta, por cierto.
I love that house, which is on sale, by the way.


El director del colegio, el cual trabaja duro, es respetado por todos.
The headteacher, who works hard, is respected by everyone.


El colegio, que está cerrado, abrirá la semana que viene.
The school, that is closed, will open next week.


Mis vecinos, quienes tienen tres hijos, son muy ruidosos.
My neighbours, who have three children, are very noisy.


Sus primos, los cuales vivían en Málaga, han emigrado a Colombia.
His cousins, who lived in Málaga, emigrated to Colombia.


Mi vecina Clara, quien es peluquera, tiene su propio salón de belleza.
My neighbour Clara, who is a hairdresser, has her own beauty salon.


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