The 3 meanings of on

The indefinite pronoun on has a number of uses.

On and nous share the same meaning in spoken French. Note that on is nonetheless always followed by a verb in the 3rd person singular (the same conjugation as for il and elle).
On a bien rigolé. We had a good laugh.
On a faim ! We're hungry!
On s'aime. We love each other.
It can describe general facts, people in general, or an unspecified person (the equivalent of "we", "you" or "they"):
Au Mexique, on mange des tacos, et en France on boit du vin. In Mexico they eat tacos, in France they drink wine.
On ne peut pas comparer Londres et Paris. You can't compare London and Paris.
It can be used to refer to an action without specifying who did it (the equivalent of the passive voice in English):
On m'a volé mon portable. = Quelqu'un a volé mon portable. My phone was stolen / Someone stole my phone.
On m'a enlevé trois dents. I had three teeth removed.
On a faim ! On a faim ! On a faim !...

Still having trouble with 'The 3 meanings of on'? Master the rules of French grammar and improve your French level thanks to our online French lessons Frantastique. We're offering a 7-day free trial, so what are you waiting for?

What our users say:



I enjoy doing my online French lessons. Only ten minutes daily are enough...Thank you!



I love your innovative method which allows me to learn a new language and have fun at the same time!



Your method is unique! Your courses have helped me to progress and gain confidence during my travels.



Gymglish has allowed me to improve my French. A daily routine I wouldn't miss for anything in the world!

More testimonials.

Looking to improve French for beginners? Frantastique provides effective and fun training!

Tips for learning 'The 3 meanings of on'? Share them with us!