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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Liz

Kwiziq community member

25 February 2019

6 replies

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"

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

25 February 2019

25/02/19

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!

 

Faithandrews

Kwiziq community member

8 March 2019

8/03/19

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

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

9 March 2019

9/03/19

In a nutshell yes....

Faithandrews

Kwiziq community member

14 March 2019

14/03/19

Thanks for you reply.

Joan

Kwiziq community member

25 March 2019

25/03/19

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'? 

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

26 March 2019

26/03/19

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!

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