In the example “On est partis.” partis is made plural even though on is considered singular. Is this correct?

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Heather

Kwiziq community member

21 February 2019

4 replies

In the example “On est partis.” partis is made plural even though on is considered singular. Is this correct?

This question relates to:
French lesson "Conjugate coming and going verbs (+ être) in Le Passé Composé (conversational past)"

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

21 February 2019

21/02/19

Hi Heather, 

'On' in this case is 'we', so the past participles agrees in plurality, a bit quirky but correct...

Jinn

Kwiziq community member

5 May 2019

5/05/19

But ètre is still singular, 'On est partis tôt.'? Is it correct when 'On' is 'we', the past participle is in plural form, but ètre is in third person singular form. 

Heather

Kwiziq community member

6 May 2019

6/05/19

Vous êtes parti and vous êtes partis are both accepted as vous can be singular  or plural. The form of être doesn’t change, just the past participle. We just need to think of “on” the same way, it can have a singular or plural meaning, still followed by “est”, but a past participle that changes with plurality. 

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

6 May 2019

6/05/19

Hi Jinn,

On is like il or elle in terms of conjugating the verb.

Take a look at the following lesson for examples  

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/subject-pronouns-nous-versus-on

and in particular the green box :

On is a more informal we, used predominantly in speech or casual writing (in emails to your friends for example). This is also a singular pronoun which is followed by the same form of the verb as singular il or elle. 

Hope this helps!

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