BLACK FRIDAY CYBER MONDAY SAVE 25% ON ANY PACKAGE »

Agreeing past participle with 'on' (compound tenses)

Look at these cases of past participles used with 'on' :

Hier, on est allés à Eurodisney !Yesterday, we went to Eurodisney !

Puis on est descendus du train le plus vite possible.Then we got off the train as fast as possible.

On est toujours pressé d'oublier les moments délicats.We're always in a hurry to forget awkward moments.

 

Note that when it comes to agree the past participle with 'on', there are two cases:

- If on is used for a specific group of people (i.e. meaning 'we' (nous) where the speaker is personally included in 'we'), then the participle will have a plural ending, and its gender agreement will depend on whether the group contains men or women. 

Quand on est revenus, il était parti.When we came back, he was gone.

- If on is used in a general context (e.g. 'one', 'we', 'people', 'mankind', etc. where the speaker is talking generally about everyone), then there will be no agreement.

Dans la dernière décennie, on est revenu à la même idéologie.In the last decade, we came back to the same ideology.

 

Want to make sure your French sounds confident? We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Puis on est descendus du train le plus vite possible.Then we got off the train as fast as possible.
Dans la dernière décennie, on est revenu à la même idéologie.In the last decade, we came back to the same ideology.
Hier, on est allés à Eurodisney !Yesterday, we went to Eurodisney !
On est toujours pressé d'oublier les moments délicats.We're always in a hurry to forget awkward moments.
Quand on est revenus, il était parti.When we came back, he was gone.
Clever stuff underway!