"En passant par cette porte, on est arrivés avant les autres."

Translation:By passing through this door, we have arrived before the others.

March 30, 2018



Why is the past participle plural? I know "on" means "we" in this context but it is still a singular construction.

March 30, 2018


Bizarrely, "on est arrivés" can be correct, according to the Académie française.

See the following link: http://www.lefigaro.fr/langue-francaise/expressions-francaises/2018/02/08/37003-20180208ARTFIG00020-on-est-arrives-ne-faites-plus-la-faute.php

(Also, see http://www.academie-francaise.fr/pauvre, which gives some examples but is less explicit about the rule.)

Specifically, to agree with the subject "on", the past participle should be singular or plural depending on what you actually mean. When you use "on" to refer to certain specific individuals, you treat it as plural.

The article also suggests avoiding the use of "on" in sentences where you'd have to write this, because it looks weird.

May 26, 2018


Thanks for that coherent explanation. It definitely does look weird.

June 28, 2018

  • 1654

If you mean on=we, then it must be treated as grammatically plural, even though the verb is conjugated in 3rd person singular. So any adjectives or relevant past participles must agree in number and gender with "on" (when it means "we"). https://www.thoughtco.com/the-many-meanings-of-the-french-subject-pronoun-on-3572148

July 29, 2018


You sure about that?

November 5, 2018

  • 1142

My question exactly "on" usually uses singular constructions?

April 28, 2018


Not only that, but it doesn't even have to be translated as "we." Sometimes (not here though) it can be translated in the passive, with no implication for plurality. For example "on lit le livre" could be "the book is read". Reported 11 May 2018.

May 12, 2018


The primary, main use of "on" is as the passive subject/agent - the English use of "one" in like manner derives from this practise.

Using "on" for "we" is a colloquialism (and incorrect, one might argue), although a widespread one.

The French penchant for using passive constructions with active meaning is a curious phenomenon. Should one understand it as the French trying to shirk away from being/feeling responsible for their actions and words, hmmh?! (I am kidding, but it is an interesting trend.)

May 3, 2019


There's no liaison between "arrivés" and "avant", so "By passing through this door, one has arrived before the others" is valid going by the audio alone, which means "arrivé" should be accepted as well.

June 6, 2018


I agree!

January 31, 2019


Thanks to our owl, I know now that arrivés is correct. But I think that arrivé and arrivées should be correct too. Am I wrong?

October 24, 2018


Is the only problem with "By passing through this door we have arrives before the others" the (obvious) d->s typo that Duobot just can't recognize as such?

October 17, 2018


Just french, not from the academy, but i think that "arrivé" without an s is better.

February 25, 2019


Another example where the translation is too restricted. It could be "through" or "by".

March 29, 2019


'Est, is singular so why is past psrticiple plural? Is this a mistake?

October 2, 2018


See above.

October 2, 2018


And what about on ait arrivés?

October 27, 2018


Even if "on " is used at the place of "nous" grammatically it's singular and cant be accorded as plurial this is a mistake again and your flags dont work !

January 7, 2019


I am confused why “On passing through that door, we arrived before the others.” was marked as incorrect. I thought the perfect tense could be translated as simple past in English, so the omission of “have” should be OK. And my dictionary gives “on arriving” as the translation for “en arrivant”, so why not “on passing” here?

April 20, 2019
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