I was taking a test and I still don't understand when to use on vs. nous. They seem to be interchangeable. Can you give more examples?

Answered! Jump to accepted answer.

Jonathon

Kwiziq community member

28 May 2018

4 replies

I was taking a test and I still don't understand when to use on vs. nous. They seem to be interchangeable. Can you give more examples?

The test was one of those translate in the blank ones - Weekend in Lyon.  It kept on using on when it seemed to me that nous would have been just as appropriate.  Why use one over the other?  

This relates to:
Nous vs on (subject pronouns) -

Chris

Kwiziq community member

29 May 2018

29/05/18

The explanation is given in the two green boxes in the lesson. Can you tell me what specifically is unclear?

-- Chris. 

Jonathon

Kwiziq community member

29 May 2018

29/05/18

Well, it just seems kind of arbitrary.  I didn't take that lesson to be overly informal.  Is it sort of like vous/tu where, when in doubt use vous until specifically told otherwise?  In other words, it seems safer to default to use nous instead of on unless you're sure that the situation is informal.  

Chris

Kwiziq community member

29 May 2018

29/05/18

In everyday French, one hears more on than nous. The latter is more formal. But if you want an impersonal "we", your only option is on.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

29 May 2018

29/05/18

Hi Jonathon,

As stated in the lesson 'nous' is more formal and in conversation the French will use 'on' to mean the same . It is preferred as it is easier to say and you need at the very least to be able to recognise it.

As for examples, I remember the night Miterrand won his first Presidential election in 1981, bringing the Socialists into power, people in the street chanting: 'On a gagné' repeatedly which is much easier to chant than 'Nous avons gagné' for 'We have won' !

Allez , on y va! (Come on, let's go !)

Hope this helps!

 

Your answer

Login to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Think you've got all the answers?

Test your French to the CEFR standard

find your French level »
3045questions6401answers126,844users
Let me take a look at that...