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I read that we can always use :il/la/li/le quale/quali" instead of "che" or "cui".

If initially the sentence is

Le ragazze che abbiamo salutato sono francesi,

can we say

Le ragazze le quali abbiamo salutato sono francesi?

Or what would be the correct corresponding sentence with "le quali"?

Maybe

Le ragazze con le quali abbiamo salutato sono francesi?

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    “we can always use il/la/li/le quale/quali instead of che or cui”: Where did you read that? Like this, it's not true.
    – DaG
    Mar 30, 2022 at 14:26
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    I'm afraid I don't understand your question.
    – Charo
    Mar 30, 2022 at 19:49
  • There are differences for transitive and intransitive verbs. "Con le quali" can be used, for example, in "...con le quali abbiamo scherzato..." Mar 31, 2022 at 7:28

1 Answer 1

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As DaG mentioned in the comments, you can't always replace "che" and "chi" with "il quale" & co.

Your example below:

Le ragazze le quali abbiamo salutato sono francesi?

is incorrect because this subordinate is a relativa restrittiva. It's not simply describing the ragazze: it's specifying that the main clause only refers to the ragazze you greeted. And as explained by the Crusca:

Le due forme non si possono considerare intercambiabili [...] Quando [...] la proposizione relativa determina il nome a cui si riferisce distinguendolo in modo univoco da un insieme più ampio di persone, animali o cose (relativa restrittiva), si può usare solo che.

There's no corresponding sentence with le quali that I can think of, because salutare + con + qualcuno is incorrect in Italian. The closest that comes to mind is "Le ragazze con le quali ci siamo scambiati i saluti sono francesi" – grammatically correct, but it sounds very convoluted.

I also add that "il quale" etc. are from a very formal (esp. written) register.

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