Nous vs on (subject pronouns)

In French, there are TWO subject pronouns (i.e. I, you, he, etc.) to express we : nous and on.

Look at these sentences using these pronouns:

Nous sommes gentils.We are kind.

On est gentils.We are kind.

Nous allons au marché.We go to the market.

On va au marché.We go to the market.
 

Nous is a plural pronoun: this is the we you use mostly in written form, or when you want to be more formal.

On is a more informal we, used predominantly in speech or casual writing (in emails to your friends for example). This is also a singular pronoun which is followed by the same form of the verb as singular il or elle

You can see it as an equivalent to the English 'one' in form, if not exactly in meaning.

 

See also On = we, one, people 

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Examples and resources

On est gentils.We are kind.
Nous sommes gentils.We are kind.
On sort ce soir ?Are we going out tonight?
On va au marché.We go to the market.
Nous allons au marché.We go to the market.
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