on versus nous

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In this French grammar lesson we will handle on versus nous.

In this lesson you will learn about:

  • what the subject pronouns are in French
  • on versus nous: when to use which one
  • how on versus nous are used in sentences
  • how you can immediately test your knowledge on on versus nous
  • how on versus nous Anki files can be downloaded.

Please refer to the French A1 Curriculum to get a better overview of French grammar if you are curious about how on versus nous fits in French A1 grammar.

By the end of the lesson you will know all about on versus nous.

Table of Contents

Table of Subject Pronouns

tuyou (singular informal)
ilhe, it (masculine)
elleshe, it (feminine)
onone, we (informal), people, they
nouswe (formal)
vousyou (singular formal and all plurals)
ilsthey (masculine, or mixed masculine and feminine)
ellesthey (feminine)

On versus Nous

In French there are two ways to say “we“.

  • On
  • Nous

However, what is the difference between the two?

  1. On: informal we

Generally used in informal speech and informal writing.

On va au parc.

We are going to the parc.

This sentence could be placed in an informal context.

A few friends are going to the park, and one of them says this to another friend who just joined them and doesn’t know where they are going.

On est là.

We are there

This is also something which could be said or sent as a text message in an informal context.

For example, if you’d like to let someone know that a group (of friends) has arrived somewhere.

So, on is an informal “we”, often used in speech and casual writing.

  1. Nous: formal we

Generally used in formal speech and writing.

Nous allons au bureau.

We are going to the office.

This sentence could be placed in a formal context.

A few office workers get a call asking where they are going to. And one of them replies with the above mentioned sentence.

Nous aimerions en avoir une copie.

We would like to have a copy.

This sentence could be part of an email written from one person to another.

When you write something you always have to use the nous form.

So, nous is a formal “we”, and is often used in formal speech and writing.

Example Sentences with On versus Nous

The final section of this lesson on on versus nous is about seeing on and nous in action.

This is valuable because you can improve your understanding of on versus nous through examples.

On va au parc.

We are going to the parc.

On est là.

We are there

On a soif.

We are thirsty.

Nous allons au bureau.

We are going to the office.

Nous aimerions en avoir une copie.

We would like to have a copy.

Nous avons faim.

We are hungry.

Test Your Knowledge on On versus Nous

It’s not enough just to read the article on this subject.

You should test your knowledge to see if you really understood everything, and to be able to repeat the material.

It is also for this reason that it is recommended to download the Anki Decks and do them.

At the end of every lesson you can do a small test.

You will see the sentences of the previous chapter. It is up to you to give the correct answer.

You will either need to fill in the blanks, choose the correct multiple choice option, or both.

Once you are done the correct answer will be shown.

You can redo the quiz as many times as you want. There’s no limit to it!

Question 1 va au parc.
Question 2 est là.

Question 3 avons faim.

Question 4 aimerions en avoir une copie.

Question 5 allons au bureau.

Question 6 a soif.


Anki File for On versus Nous

It is important to do the Anki excercises for this lesson, so that you can remember what you just studied.

By downloading the Anki File for French A1 you can practice every French A1 lesson that is on Language Atlas.

At this moment the Anki File for this lesson doesn’t exist yet. However, in due time this will be available on Language Atlas.

If you don’t know why you should use Anki, or don’t know how to use Anki or merge Anki files please click here.

Anki can be downloaded from here.

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