Quand on s'est barré de cette ville ...


Quand on s'est barrés de cette ville ...

When the subject is "nous", "barrés" is the obvious choice. But how about when the subject is "on" that means "we"?

Another example:

depuis qu’on est revenu de cette ville


depuis qu’on est revenus de cette ville

  • 1
    An interesting follow-up question to ask (1 that @Laurent has already answered) would concern gender agreement when “on”=“nous.” (Also, & this is perhaps just me being too picky, but your examples seem to make it clear that you’re really asking: “… should [past participles of] verbs be pluralized?” & not just “… should verbs ...” alone because as is your question could possibly be interpreted as asking if “on se sommes barrés” would be correct, which this site felt important enough to address with a warning.)
    – Papa Poule
    May 10, 2016 at 22:22
  • Good remark @PapaPoule I will update my answer
    – Laurent S.
    May 14, 2016 at 12:59

2 Answers 2


You have to differenciate the 2 possible usages of "on":


On est souvent étonné du prix des choses.

You don't know who "on" stands for. In this form you're supposed to do as it was a masculine singular.

Replacing a personal pronoun (usually "nous")

Je suis parti en vacances avec ma femme mais maintenant on est revenus.

In this case, "on" is used as a replacement for "nous", the sentence could be written :

Je suis parti en vacances avec ma femme mais maintenant nous sommes revenus.

This last form is more formal though, and tends to be used more when writing, while the first one if more appropriate, more informal, less pedantic and then rather used in spoken language.

Note that the past participle is in this case accorded in gender and number with the subject it replaces. If "on" stands for 2 women, you should write :

On est revenues

It is worth mentioning that in this case, when acting as the subject to accord the auxiliary "on" is considered masculine singular, and acting as the object to accord the past participle, it's important to know who it stands for, how many people and of which gender. As a result, "on sommes revenu(e)(es)" is NOT correct.


On has value of third person singular in French conjugations, but here barrés is the past participle of the sentence and is always in agreement with the subject, which is "On" in this case, which is plural.

So « Quand on s'est barrés de cette ville ... » is right.

  • I'm reading something professionally translated, and the translator insists on using « quand on s’est barrés de » or « depuis qu’on est revenus de ». So the use of "revenus" is not correct either?
    – Merissa
    May 10, 2016 at 20:02
  • I made a mistake and corrected it, sorry. "revenus" is also correct. May 10, 2016 at 20:21

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