Use notre/nos when on means we, but son/sa/ses when it means people (possessive adjectives)

On est son propre maître.
One is one's own master 

On aime toujours sa famille.
One always loves one's family. / People always love their family.

On mange notre repas.
We are eating our meal.

On porte nos sacs
We are carrying our bags.

Possessive phrases containing on can use either : 

- son/sa/ses if on is used in a general sense (one, people)
or
-notre/nos when on means we

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

ON - "we"


On porte nos sacs
We are carrying our bags.


On mange notre repas.
We are eating our meal.


ON - general meaning, "one"/"people"


On aime toujours sa famille.
One always loves one's family. / People always love their family.


On est son propre maître.
One is one's own master 


Q&A

Cathy

Kwiziq community member

21 February 2018

2 replies

How to determine if it's a general statement

Chris

Kwiziq community member

21 February 2018

21/02/18

Hi Cathy,

if substituting "one" for "on" makes more sense than "we", it is a general statement. For example:


On prend nos vacances l'été. -- We take our vacation in summer (we = us in particular).
On prend ses vacances l'été. -- One takes one's vacation in summer (we = in general).

I hope that helps, -- Chris (not a native speaker).

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

21 August 2018

21/08/18

Hi Cathy , 

You can also think 'people' or 'in general' to the general rather than specific statements.

Hope this helps!

Dzoan

Kwiziq community member

5 November 2017

3 replies

on nous vs on se?

For reflexive verbs, is it always on se or can it be on nous? For example, we talk (to each other) everyday = on se parle tous les jours. Can it be on nous parle?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

6 November 2017

6/11/17

I have only ever encountered "on se....". You are, of course, free to say "Nous nous parlon...." but you already knew that, I am sure. -- Chris (not a native speaker).

Jim

Kwiziq community member

7 November 2017

7/11/17

Hi Dzoan, "On" can only take the reflexive pronoun "se". "Nous" only takes the reflexive pronoun "nous". It is incorrect to mix these pronouns in the way you ask -- "On nous parle tous les jours" is not correct -- it has to be "On se parle ------" Regards, Alan (Non native speaker)

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

22 June 2018

22/06/18

Hi Dzoan,

I can confirm the reflexive pronoun for on/il/elle  is 'se'.

On se parle tous les jours. = We speak to each other every day.

On nous parle tous les jours = They speak to us every day.

Hope this helps!

Andrew

Kwiziq community member

7 February 2017

1 reply

Why use notre and not nos

I can't see how to decide which to use when used in this context

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

8 February 2017

8/02/17

Bonjour Andrew ! Unfortunately here I cannot see the example you're referring to, but here's the rule for using "notre" vs "nos" : - if the noun following is plural, "our dogS", then you use "nos" -> "nos chiens" - if the noun following is singular, "our cat", then you use "notre" -> "notre chat" Here's a link to the related lesson: https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/my-languages/french/view/3113 I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !
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