"Bien que l'on ne s'entende pas"

"Bien que l'on ne s'entende pas"

Is there a lesson that explains this use of l/le? I see it a lot, but I don't fully understand when it is needed and when it isn't needed. 

Asked 5 months ago
TomC1Correct answer

Hi Michelle,

L'on is an optional form of on and is used mainly in the literary domain after words ending in a vowel, notably single sylable words such as:  qui, que, ou, où, si, et, to aid euphony . It is never used after the word dont nor is it used before a word starting with 'l' to avoid the alliterative sound of two 'l's'

        si on loge chez moi... rather than  si l'on loge chez moi...

        où on l'avait vu rather than où l'on l'avait vu

In speech l'on is often used to avoid the sound of the vulgar homonym con in such phrases as:

Les toiles qu'on peut admirer au musée  which may be rendered as  Les toiles que l'on peut admirer au musée

Hope this helps,

Tom

 

In this case the "le" is purely phonetic. It is not a personal pronoun.

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