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Use This Simple Trick to Be More Fluent in French

Acquiring a foreign language is not always easy, but it can have a tremendous impact on your life. The moment you start learning, you want to start speaking as well. If you want to learn French quickly, check out this one simple trick that will make your French smoother.


Tenses in French can be challenging, especially when you have to make the verb agree with the pronoun in a sentence. When you refer to yourself in French, you simply say "Je": "Je suis, j'habite, j'ai fait, je ferai," etc.


But what if you want to talk about people in your country? What if you're talking about you and your friend, your partner, your family?


That's where things get slightly complex. You can't use "Je," because you need to speak in the plural, "nous." Your sentence becomes heavier when you say "nous avons fait, nous allons parler"? In writing, this is not a problem. But when you're speaking, it will take some time for you to say a grammatically correct sentence.


The French language has a great trick to make your sentence lighter and to keep the same meaning expressed with "nous". Thanks to this great "invention," when you hear French people chatting, their conversation is clear and smooth.


So, what's the trick?


It's the pronoun "On." In French, especially when speaking, people tend to make sentences short and "light." This pronoun will help you construct exactly that type of phrase. It's simple to use, and it replaces the following structures:


1. les gens - the people - In the United States, people learn French at school. Take a look at these two sentences:

a. Aux Etats-Unis, les gens apprennent le français à l'école.

b. Aux Etats-Unis, on apprend le français à l'école.


You agree that option b. is easier to say, right?

Whenever you talk about people or a specific nation in general, use the pronoun "on" It will take you less time to say what you want to say, and it will be easier to pronounce it.


2. nous - we - My family and I, we will visit France next month. Let's translate it into French:

a. Ma famille et moi, nous allons visiter la France le mois prochain.

b. Ma famille et moi, on va visiter la France le mois prochain.


"Nous" is often replaced with the pronoun "on" in every-day conversations.


3. quelqu'un - non-determined person(s) (someone) - Someone told me you need French classes.

a. Quelqu'un m'a dit que tu avais besoin de cours de français.

b. On m'a dit que tu avais besoin de cours de français.


When you're not specifying who the "someone" is, and when the more important part is what comes after the subject, "on" replaces "quelqu'un" and attracts more attention to what follows.


4. tout le monde - everybody - Everybody should respect different cultures.

a. Tout le monde doit respecter les cultures différentes.

b. On doit respecter les cultures différentes.


If you want to express an attitude or a general thought that would refer to the majority of people, the pronoun "on" is a perfect solution.


When using the pronoun "on," don't forget that it's more often used in an every-day conversation with friends, family, and other people that you know. In writing, since there is no need to say something fast, it might be good to stick to the structures such as "tout le monde" or "quelqu'un." "On" is more related to conversational French - people tend to speak fast and as short as possible, so it's a perfect place for this pronoun to use.


 

Do you use this pronoun when speaking in French? If not, will you use it from now on? Let us know!

 

If you need help with handling French grammar and more, Fourmi teachers would be happy to talk to you! Reach out to us at info@fourmilanguages.com or fill out this questionnaire.

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