Posts Tagged ‘on’

Two blog posts in one day? Why not! I had a few extra minutes, so let’s take a quick look at a random comment made by a father to his young boy in Montréal.

The father and his boy were waiting at an intersection. The boy was on his bike and his father was behind him. When the light turned green, the boy wasn’t paying attention and didn’t advance. The light wasn’t going to stay green long, so the father encouraged him to get moving by saying:

Allez, allez! On traverse, là.
C’mon, c’mon. Let’s cross.

I’m guessing you’ve probably learned to use the nous form of the imperative when you want to say “let’s…” in French, like traversons, calmons-nous, etc. And yet it’s the present tense with on that you’ll often hear. Depending on the context, you can also understand this on to mean “you.”

On traverse, là!
Let’s cross!
(The helps to convey the speaker’s frustration.)

On se calme!
Calm down!
Let’s calm down!

As for allez, allez in the vous form in the father’s quote above, it doesn’t matter that he was speaking to his young boy (whom he’d never vouvoie). Just consider allez, allez to be a set expression.

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