Les 3 valeurs du « on »

French Grammar (see all)

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Les 3 valeurs du « on »


The indefinite pronoun on has a number of uses.

On and nous share the same meaning in spoken French:
On a bien rigolé. We had a good laugh.
On a faim ! We’re hungry!
On s’aime. We love each other.

It can describe general facts, people in general, or an unspecified person (the equivalent of ‘we’,
‘you’ or ‘they’):
Au Mexique, on mange des tacos, et en France on boit du vin. In Mexico they eat tacos, in France they drink wine.
On ne peut pas comparer Londres et Paris. You can’t compare London and Paris.

It can be used to describe someone in the passive sense (the equivalent of the passive voice in English):
On m’a volé mon portable. = Quelqu’un a volé mon portable. My phone was stolen / Someone stole my phone.
On m’a enlevé trois dents. I had three teeth removed.
On a faim ! On a faim ! On a faim !...

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