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  5. "On connaît les enfants."

"On connaît les enfants."

Translation:We know the children.

January 16, 2013



I have a doubt, is there any difference between "on" and "nous"? Can we use them as the same?


Yes and no... the French use "on" a lot to mean "someone" or "nous".

So, if you get "on connaît les enfants", you'd better translate in "we" (makes more sense).

On the contrary, if you get "we know the children", the best translation is "nous connaissons les enfants".

And if you get "you know how children are", you may translate by "on sait comment sont les enfants" (generality), because it is not obvious that the "you" is really one or several persons in particular.


You are an angel. Merci beaucoup!


Not necessarily, most people associate that 'on' means one. Like one eats a cracker, I am I right in some senses or is there a whole new concept that I haven't understood?


So if someone asks "who knows these kids" and you reply "on connaît les enfants" it means someone knows them (certainly not us) or the opposite, we know them


How frustrating and ambiguous.

I imagine that in order to really understand French, you have to be clued into context but why not just use the pronoun which undeniably says, "WE" as opposed to using one that might mean "SOMEONE" or "WE"?


Keep in mind that in English we use 'you' to mean three different things: 1) I love you man. (one person); 2) How many of you have been here before? (more than one but from a specific group); 3) You see some pretty interesting sentences on duolingo. (anyone: the impersonal you).

That's probably frustrating and ambiguous too, at first, for people learning English. Yet, somehow we'll all manage.

Keep on keeping on. Good luck with your progress.


BIG help...thank you!


So, to speak some aspects of French, you need to learn the psychology of French users, more or less.


I wrote in french: "On connaissons les enfants - They marked my answer wrong because they claim the verb is wrong, s/h/b On connait les enfants. According to the conjugation of the verb, connait belongs to Il/elle/on and connaissons refers to we. Can anybody explain why the the third person verb is being used as the plural of we? Thanks for the help before hand.


"on" is a personal pronoun that does not exist in English. Therefore, when the French use "on", depending on what they mean, you can interpret it as "we", "you", "one"... So, the meaning can be singular or plural, but in any event "on" remains singular.


When I took French ages ago in high school, we touched on "on" very briefly, mainly in the context of spreading gossip: "On dit." In English, it is "They say." So I thought that "on" was that indefinite "they" out there, spreading gossip or coming up with wise sayings that begin with, "You know what they say."

But I'm realizing from duolingo and these discussions that "on" is actually "we" not "they." I'm wondering, however, if "on" is more indefinite than "nous," like I had understood "on dit" to be.


All what you mention about "on" used to mean "they" is still perfectly valid.

but I think that with time, "on" has also increasingly replaced "nous". My theory about it is that conjugations for "on" (similar to il, elle) are much easier than those for "nous". In other words, only laziness would explain why "on dit 'on' et moins 'nous' ".


what is the difference between connaitre and savoir ?


Connaitre - Conocer - Kennen - to know someone, to familiar with..... Savoir - Saber - Wissen - to know something, to know how


doesn't on mean in that case: the children are known? like in german we would say 'man kennt die kinder' like it is normal to know the children?


Yes "on" and "man" are equivalent in this case. At least in writing.

In a speech in English, you will probably tend to personalize that statement, either with "we" or with "you".


It sounds like the guy is going to kidnap the kids!


I have often wondered why 'on' is listed with il/elle for verb endings and I still don't understand why 'on' doesn't have the same verb ending as nous when it is used to mean 'we'. Would somebody please explain this to me before I lose heart!


"on" is like "one" = 3rd person singular.


Why didn't "We understand the children" get a pass ?


understand = comprendre

  • 1027

Can "on" be translated as "one" in this particular sentence?


Yes, "one knows (the) children" is accepted


Can someone tell me when les means the, and when it doesn't mean anything? This trips me up a lot. Thank you!


"the" translates to "le, la, l' or les", definite articles.

  • the children (specific) are eating now = les enfants mangent maintenant

When the French sentence has "le, la, l' or les", you have to determine if the object is specific. If so, you can translate to "the".

  • les enfants mangent maintenant = the children are eating now

When the noun refers to a whole category or when the sentence is a blanket statement, the French nouns still have a definite article, but the English ones will not need any:

  • soup (in general) is good for children (in general) = la soupe est bonne pour les enfants


This on is driving me crazy.


I'd just like to know why I can't write "kids" instead of "children".


"Kids" and "children" are not the same register of speech.

Enfants = children

Kids = gamins/gamines

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