Spanish relative clauses using the infinitive

The infinitive after que in Spanish

In Spanish there are relative clauses that use the infinitive after "que" and other relative pronouns. These clauses are commonly used with the verbs tener, haber and quedar. Here are some examples:

En mi ciudad hay muchos monumentos interesantes que visitar.In my town there are lots of interesting monuments to visit.

Hoy no puedo salir; tengo un montón de cosas que hacer.I can't go out today; I have lots of things to do.

Me quedan dos capítulos que leer y habré terminado por fin el libro.I have two chapters left to read and I will then have finished the book, at last.

Notice how in English the equivalent to "que" is "to". 

With these relative clauses using the infinitive, it is as if we are omitting part of the sentence and simplifying it with the infinitive:

 

En mi ciudad hay muchos monumentos interesantes que visitar.In my town there are lots of interesting monuments to visit.

or 

En mi ciudad hay muchos monumentos interesantes que [la gente puede] visitar.

 

Hoy no puedo salir; tengo un montón de cosas que hacer.I can't go out today; I have lots of things to do.

or

Tengo un montón de cosas que [debería] hacer.

 

Here are more examples:

No había ninguna historia que contar.There was no story to tell.

No hay alimentos que comer.There's no food to eat.

¡Vamos, no tenemos tiempo que perder!Come on, we have no time to lose!

 

Relative clauses with a preposition 

We can also find this type of relative clause using the infinitive with relative pronouns using a preposition in Spanish. For example:

Tranquilo, habrá mucha gente con la que conversar en la fiesta.Don't worry, there'll be lots of people to talk to at the party.

La policía encontró a un sospechoso a quien culpar del delito.The police found a suspect to charge with the crime.

Necesito a alguien en quien confiar.I need someone to trust [who I can trust].

 

Relative clauses with donde

With the relative adverb donde we can also form this type of clause using the infinitive. For example:

¿Has pensado en algún lugar donde dormir esta noche?Have you thought of a place where you can sleep tonight?

Estamos buscando unas sillas donde sentarnos 5 minutos.We are looking for some chairs where we can sit for 5 minutes.

Donde in these sentences can be substituted for "in/on which": en el que, en la que, en los que, en el cual, en la cual, etc, a relative pronoun with the preposition en, for example:

¿Has pensado en algún lugar en el que dormir esta noche?Have you thought of a place where/in which you can sleep tonight?

Estamos buscando unas sillas en las cuales sentarnos 5 minutos.We are looking for some chairs where/on which we can sit on for 5 minutes.

 

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Examples and resources

Estamos buscando unas sillas donde sentarnos 5 minutos.We are looking for some chairs where we can sit for 5 minutes.
Me quedan dos capítulos que leer y habré terminado por fin el libro.I have two chapters left to read and I will then have finished the book, at last.
Tranquilo, habrá mucha gente con la que conversar en la fiesta.Don't worry, there'll be lots of people to talk to at the party.
Hoy no puedo salir; tengo un montón de cosas que hacer.I can't go out today; I have lots of things to do.
No había ninguna historia que contar.There was no story to tell.
No hay alimentos que comer.There's no food to eat.
¡Vamos, no tenemos tiempo que perder!Come on, we have no time to lose!
La policía encontró a un sospechoso a quien culpar del delito.The police found a suspect to charge with the crime.
Necesito a alguien en quien confiar.I need someone to trust [who I can trust].
¿Has pensado en algún lugar donde dormir esta noche?Have you thought of a place where you can sleep tonight?
¿Has pensado en algún lugar en el que dormir esta noche?Have you thought of a place where/in which you can sleep tonight?
Estamos buscando unas sillas en las cuales sentarnos 5 minutos.We are looking for some chairs where/on which we can sit on for 5 minutes.
En mi ciudad hay muchos monumentos interesantes que visitar.In my town there are lots of interesting monuments to visit.
I'll be right with you...