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?

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?  
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

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!

 

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

-- Chris. 

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.  

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).

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?  

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