'On' - little word, massive workload

letters from the game scrabble all jumbled up

One word, two letters, big job... Language expert Camille Chevalier-Karfis untangles the many strings to the bow of the word 'on' in her latest guide to learning, speaking and understanding French

“On” (one short nasal sound, no N sound) is a wonderful French subject pronoun.

Usually, "on" is translated as meaning 'one' or the impersonal subject pronoun used to translate sentences such as: ‘is English spoken in this country?’ = Est-ce qu’on parle anglais dans ce pays ?.

"On" is indeed used this way. However, this is far from being the only way “on” is used in French.

On means 'we'
The most common use of “on” nowadays is to say 'we'
- Qu’est-ce ...

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