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  5. "On" vs. "Nous


"On" vs. "Nous

Hello! So, I've seen "on" used as an informal version of the us/we noun several times, in the lessons, stories, and in real life. However, I'm a bit confused about how to conjugate something in the form "on", as well as how I can distinguish between it meaning "we" or "someone" (also seen it used as that, instead of quelqu'un).

Could I have some help?

April 8, 2020



"on" is conjugated like il/elle.
It means we/you/one and is usually used in a very vague, general sense.
On étudie le français chaque jour.

We study French every day.
You study French every day.
One studies French every day.

It's kind of like "Folks".
It's not YOU Sophia187495 specifically.
It's like the general "you" in English.

You know when you're studying.... <- that "you" means anyone.
A person, in general. "On" is like that.


One common use is:

"Comment dit-on _ en francais?"

(How do you say _ in French?)


That clears it up, thank you!


I had the same question; thank you A LOT!

Take a couple of lingots as a thanks


Thank you! This is very helpful.


"On" is very general. Nous is more specific. And they are conjugated differently


Not really. When you use on when meaning nous, it is as specific as nous.
When I say on va au resto ce soir it is exactly as specific as nous allons au restaurant ce soir.


On y va. We are going On y va? Shall we go? On s’amuse, maman! - we are having fun, mum!

as opposed to:

On dit que c’est bien - it is said to be good.

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