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Follow on qu: On était éberlués

Brian E.C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Follow on qu: On était éberlués

Taking Maarten’s sentence as a starting point “When 'on' can be replaced by the specific subject pronoun 'nous', adjectives agree with number and are therefore plural (only the past participle/adjective, not the auxiliary verb conjugation).”


My question is, assuming that we have decided to indeed follow the agreement rule, if the specific group that “on” refers to were all female, would the sentence then be “On était éberluées”? I.e. does the gender get reflected in the adjective in the same way that it would if we used “nous” and the group were all female (“nous étions éberluées”).

Asked 11 months ago
N. Hilary (Shamrockhill) W.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

C'est une bonne question, Brian !

According to Larousse, the answer is "yes", the adjective or the past participle will agree with the number and the gender of the subject to which "on" refers: 

From Larousse:

 

"ACCORD

L'adjectif ou le participe passé attribut de on prend le genre et le nombre du sujet que ce pronom représente.
Quand on est employé comme indéfini (= quelqu'un, tout le monde, quiconque), l'accord se fait au masculin singulier : à quinze ans, on est encore naïf.
Quand on remplace je, tu ou vous, il ou elle, ils ou elles nous, l'accord se fait en genre et en nombre avec le sujet représenté par on  : on est arrivés ce matin ; on n'est pas sûre de soi ? ; alors, on est contentes ?"

The last example demonstrates "on" as a plural feminine subject. "Alors, on est contentes ?"

I hope this helps. 

Bonne Continuation

Brian E.C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thanks for this well researched answer Hilary!

Follow on qu: On était éberlués

Taking Maarten’s sentence as a starting point “When 'on' can be replaced by the specific subject pronoun 'nous', adjectives agree with number and are therefore plural (only the past participle/adjective, not the auxiliary verb conjugation).”


My question is, assuming that we have decided to indeed follow the agreement rule, if the specific group that “on” refers to were all female, would the sentence then be “On était éberluées”? I.e. does the gender get reflected in the adjective in the same way that it would if we used “nous” and the group were all female (“nous étions éberluées”).

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