Is it true that the pronouns on and nous can be used anytime we want to indicate we? I’ve heard that using nous is more formal, but is it wrong?

LizC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Is it true that the pronouns on and nous can be used anytime we want to indicate we? I’ve heard that using nous is more formal, but is it wrong?

This question relates to:French lesson "On = we, one, people"
Asked 8 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Liz,

Indeed you are right, the French will use 'on' for 'nous' all the time that is why teaching it is so important....

In formal written form, 'nous' will be more elegant...

Hope this helps!

 

CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Joan,

In written form, 'on' meaning 'nous' will be avoided ( except perhaps in informal family emails and the like).

Probably the only time you will encounter 'on' in written form (maybe in newspapers)  it will be for the general meaning of one /people/ universal you ...when you can say 'on n'a pas de nom' ...

e.g.

On dit que la pollution humaine est la cause de bien des maux it is said that human pollution is the source of many evils.

Hope this helps!

FaithandrewsA0Kwiziq community member

so they can be interchangeably  but french speakers use ''on'' on daily basis. while ''nous'' is used mostly for very formal and written form?

CécileKwiziq team member

In a nutshell yes....

FaithandrewsA0Kwiziq community member

Thanks for you reply.

JoanA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

When we want to say 'we', it is more elegant to use 'nous' instead of 'on', but when we want to say 'you/one/people' in formal writing , can we use 'on'? 

Is it true that the pronouns on and nous can be used anytime we want to indicate we? I’ve heard that using nous is more formal, but is it wrong?

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