FR: on se / nous nous + reflexive verb - pronoun choice

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by mully, Nov 23, 2006.

  1. mully Senior Member

    I've a grammar question:

    When we use "on" in the sense of 'nous', how do we then conjugate reflexive verbs? I have seen "Nous, on va faire.." So I am wondering if we use reflexive 'on' verbs with 'se' or 'nous'.

    EX: Would we say 'On va nous amuser ce soir'? Or 'On va s'amuser ce soir'?

    EX: What about after 'que'? On mangera apres qu'on finit se (nous?) doucher? In this case, the 'se' would confuse me because it sounds like we are give EACH OTHER baths instead of taking our own seperate showers at the same time.


    Moderator note: Multiple threads merged to create this one. The present discussion is not about the agreement of the past participle or adjective after on used instead of nous. If that is the topic you are interested in, please see FR: on (= nous, tu, etc.) + past participle & adjective agreement. See also FR: on / nous - generalities.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2014
  2. titi22 Senior Member

    french FRANCE
    On va s'amuser ce soir. […] On mangera après qu'on se soit douchés/qu'on ait fini de se doucher.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2014
  3. verbivore Banned

    USA, English
    If you want to say in French, "We will me later then", which pronoun is required in the following usage: On se ou On nous rencontrera plus tard alors ?

    In conversation I often say "se" in this context, but I think I am wrong and need to start using "nous." (The problem is that no one corrects me on this.) If I use "se" the meaning of "on" becomes "they" as opposed to "we", correct? Mille mercis
  4. Peter&Steven Senior Member

    Lyon, France
    France, Français
    En langage courant, "on" est souvent employé à la place de "nous" : "on va au cinéma ce soir" au lieu de "nous allons au cinéma ce soir". En langage littéraire, il vaut mieux éviter les "on".

    Dans ton cas, il faut bien dire "On se verra plus tard". Quand tu as une forme pronominale (verbes sous la forme "se" + infinitif : par exemple se rencontrer, s'aider, se promener...), on a "je me...", "tu te...", "il se...", "elle se...", "on se...", "nous nous...", "vous vous...", "ils se..." ou "elles se..." mais jamais "On nous..."
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2014
  5. Avignonais Senior Member

    USA, Anglophone
    On se retrouvera plus tard. This could mean we will see each other later OR (in general) people will see each other later.

    Because, it is informal and inexact, it is OK to use in speech (and quite common), BUT in writing my professors encouraged me to use Nous nous retrouverons plus tard OR Ils se retrouveronts (depending on which I meant). Overuse of On se retrouvera..., etc., was discouraged.

    But, the rule remains (as both Peter and Steven have said :)) : On goes with se; Nous goes with nous
  6. Jacques818 Member

    United States English
    Bonsoir tout le monde! J'essaie d'utiliser "on" de plus en plus quand je parle (puisque j'ai entendu que "on" devient de plus en plus usité que nous, est-ce vrai?) et j'ai un petit problème. Quand on utilise "on" pour remplacer "nous", quel pronom personnel est le bon pronom à utiliser? Par exemple si je veux dire "Nous allons nous préparer pour la fête", est-ce que je dirais "on va se préparer pour la fête" ou "on va nous préparer pour la fête"? Quelle traduction est plus correcte? Merci tout le monde!
  7. envie de voyager Senior Member

    Niagara Falls, Canada
    "On" is always third person singular. Use "se" with "on" the same as you would use "se" with "il."
  8. Fred_C

    Fred_C Senior Member

    Le pronom réfléchi (ourselves) qui correspond à "on" est "se".
    Mais le pronom objet non réfléchi est "nous".
    ("Tu nous vois" ne peut pas se dire en utilisant le pronom "on" ni en utilisant "se".)
  9. bloop123 Member

    Hi everyone

    Quick question
    I was wondering when 'on' is used instead of 'nous', is it better to use 'nous' or 'se' as the reflexive pronoun?

    Eg on s'amuse
    Or on nous amusons
  10. radagasty Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    Australia, Cantonese
    If you use on, verbal and pronominal agreement must be with the third-person singular: On se tutoie?
    [Of course, this does not apply to adjectival (including participles) and nominal agreement.]
  11. bloop123 Member

    Does that mean if I want to express it in the passé composé the agreement would still be plural despite a singular subject?

    Eg on s'est amusé(e)s
  12. Beauceron-puppy Member

    French France

    oui exactement !
    Mais si j'ai bien compris, l'accord se fait ou ne se fait pas selon le cas, et la nuance est souvent subtile.
    Comme le précise ce thread, il vaut donc mieux éviter l'emploi du on à l'écrit pour ne pas faire d'erreur.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2014
  13. bloop123 Member

    Ok I understand that on can be used instead of nous but does this apply to other pronouns?
    Eg in English we often use our/their/your instead of the 'correct' one's
    Can you use son/sa/ses instead of notre?
  14. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    That's an entirely different question. ;)

    This thread is about the reflexive pronoun:

    on se + reflexive verb in 3rd person singular :tick:
    nous nous + reflexive verb in 2nd 1st person plural :tick:
    on nous + reflexive verb :cross: <-- never, not even when you're using on as an informal synonym of nous. If you use on nous + verb, then on and nous are different people, and it means that on did something to or for nous. In other words, it forces nous to be an object pronoun instead of a reflexive pronoun.

    If you're wondering about using son/sa/ses vs. notre/nos with on, that's the posessive adjective. If you're using on as an informal synonym of nous -- which is to say that you really do mean "our" -- then you'll stick with notre/nos. In other contexts, when you really mean "one's" or "their," you won't use notre/nos. But that's the subject of a different discussion. Please see FR: on (= nous, tu, etc.) + past participle & adjective agreement.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014
  15. bloop123 Member

    Thanks for your help. So essentially this on/nous switching only works for the nominative and reflexives which just agree with the subject and once we go in to any other case, the pronoun basically corresponds to logic?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2014
  16. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    I guess you might put it that way. The trouble is that what seems logical to one person can be confusing to the next, so I hesitate to use "logic" as the explanation. You really should just read the other thread. ;) We try to keep the discussions organized here to make it easier to find information, which is why the topics are separate. :)
  17. bloop123 Member

    In retrospect I should have read the other thread in terms of the 1st question however once I read it I couldn't find anything about 'nous' or 'on' in the other cases :(

    Maybe 'logic' wasn't the right word, however I couldn't think of another way to express what I meant.

    Thanks for all your help!!!
  18. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    You're right that there isn't much... but there is something.

    --> the 5th example sentence quoted in post #5
    --> the first post contains a link to a similar discussion on the French Only forum (see posts #28, #51, #58, etc.)
  19. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    See FR: on + notre, nos / son, sa, ses
  20. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    Excellent. I felt sure we must have a thread on this, and I looked for it, but somehow missed it. :eek:

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