On or il

Why is it ‘on est Mardi’ not ‘il est Mardi’ ?

March 12, 2018


Nous sommes mardi. On est mardi.

C'est mardi.

Voilà comme on dit en France. En Angleterre c'est différent. C'est pour cela qu'on s'aime. Parce qu'on est différents (un peu).

That's what they say in France. In England it's different. That's why we love each other. Because we are different (a little).

I really like the response by Prenom.Pierre.

However I would like to make some more mention. And I would appreciate it if I am wrong in anything, that people will correct me. I am still learning French, and I will always be learning more about French. It is such a fascinating language.

You would say :

edited :
Il est 10 h et on est mardi matin.
... nb see the comments below by Prenom.Pierre !

( p.s. : An awkward way to say this - that I now believe is incorrect is :
Il est 10 h mardi matin. : It's 10 am on Monday. Which is what was corrected by Prenom.Pierre below. Check it out below! )

From what I see, this is as it is a specific moment in time.

However it is NOT acceptable to say : Il est mardi.
I believe/propose that the reason for this, is that it is not a specific enough moment in time.

There are three ways that one can say "It is a (specific day of the week).'*

C'est mardi : It's Tuesday.

On est mardi. : It's Tuesday. ( informal ) ( literal : We are Tuesday. )

Nous sommes mardi : It's Tuesday. ( formal ) ( literal : We are Tuesday. )

Also take note, unlike English, that in French, a capital letter is not used within sentences on :

  • days of the week or months.
  • languages ( French, English, Spanish : français, anglais, espagnol )
  • nationalities that are not proper nouns.
    I'm American. : Je suis américain
    She has a French flag. : Elle a un drapeau français..
    There is an Australian : Il y a un Australien.
    She is eating with a Spaniard. : Elle mange avec un Espagnol.

  • religions

  • titles in front of a proper noun
  • geographic terms

Je ne dirais jamais "il est 10 h mardi matin", je dirais :

On est mardi matin, il est 10 h.

Il est 10 h et on est mardi matin.

Il est 10 h du matin, ce mardi.

Dans un texte littéraire : « Mardi matin, 10 h, j'attends Véronique qui n'arrive pas... »

Sur un agenda : « Mardi matin 10 h, RDV avec Véronique. »

En réponse à une question : — On est quel jour ? — Mardi ! Il est 10 h du mat.

À un petit enfant :

— Mon petit cœur, dépêche-toi, on est mardi matin, il est 10 h, le dentiste nous attend.

Voili-voilou !

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