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Uns and Unes

Bonjour à tous !

Recently, I came across two words - ''uns'' and ''unes''. I had never seen these words before, so I looked them up. Google translate said they both meant ''each'' (I know I shouldn't trust google translate, but anyway...) but I didn't understand their usage. So I searched and searched, trawling the internet for explanations, but to no avail. I found absolutely nothing. So if anyone has any explanations for these two words, your help would be greatly appreciated.

Merci beaucoup, au revoir !

July 21, 2019



I would translate "uns" and "unes" with "ones", depending on the grammatical gender.

When you want to translate "someone" into French, you would get "quelqu'un". As a consequence, "quelques-uns" and "quelques-unes" are the plural forms of it ("some" or "a few"), as in "quelques-uns des journalistes" ("some of the journalists").

Another expression that comes to my mind is "les uns et les autres", meaning "each other", more literally "the ones and the others"; e.g. "Nous nous aidons les uns et les autres" ("We help each other"). I believe you could derive it from "l'un et l'autre", meaning "both" (or "the one and the other"), which you could have heard of already.


Thank you SO MUCH! This was so helpful, I feel like I have a real understanding of those words now. Here, have a lingot or two! :)


A little correction : "each other" would actually be "les uns les autres", without the et -> "Respectons-nous les uns les autres".

"Les uns et les autres" would mean a different thing, I guess "the ones, and the others" but I don't know if it is very idiomatic in english. Maybe "each one of them". Here is an example from Dictionnaire Philosophique de Voltaire : “Nous respectons plus les morts que les vivants. Il aurait fallu respecter les uns et les autres.”

Another from an Oscar Wilde translation : “Les hommes se marient parce qu'ils sont fatigués. Les femmes parce qu'elles sont curieuses. Les uns et les autres sont déçus.”


Les uns et les autres = both of them (perhaps, based on your sample sentences)

Although "tous les deux" seems to be a better translation for "both of them".


Les uns, les unes. Quelques-uns, quelques-unes. Les uns et les autres.


A really good place to look up translations is WordReference, it's super good

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