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I understand that "on" is typically used for "we" in conversation, while "nous" is used in writing and in formal situations. The associated verb will be conjugated differently depending on the choice. But what if I want to say "My friend and I are eating" - in a informal situation. Should it be "Mon ami et moi mangeons" or "Mon ami et moi mange"? (And is it "Mon ami et moi" or "Moi et mon ami")? Thanks a lot!

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It should be:

Mon ami et moi mangeons.

Mon ami et moi, nous mangeons. (note the comma)

The personal pronoun nous can be omitted here. I don't know why but the sentence sounds peculiar to me. I guess it could be part of a bigger sentence.

Colloquially:

Mon ami et moi, on mange

On cannot be omitted.

As another example:

Mon ami et moi avons une grande maison.

Mon ami et moi, nous avons (on a) une grande maison.

Yet another:

Mon ami et moi sommes tombés amoureux. Ça peut marcher?

(Vu ici: http://www.internationalnewsblog.com/2019/02/mon-ami-et-moi-nous-sommes-tombes-amoureux.ca-peut-marcher.html)

  • I didn't have the time to comment yesterday; in addition to the form you've found wanting through reading my answer, there is "Mon ami et moi, on mange"; that too does not correspond to "Me and my friend are having a meal"; it is not idiomatic. The other sentences below that are all right. You might try and patch all of that up. – LPH Aug 7 at 13:30
  • Mon ami et moi, on mange is idiomatic. Don't overestimate LPH's "nativeness"... He lives in anothet planet. – jlliagre Aug 8 at 10:38
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I "Mon ami et moi mangeons" and "Mon ami et moi, nous mangeons" are not idiomatic unless you want to say that you are beings that have to take in food in order to live. Idiomatically, if you want to say that you and your friend are having a meal or that you are eating a snack, you'd have to say something like this;

  • Mon ami et moi sommes en train de manger. or using "on"
  • Je suis avec mon ami, on mange.

You could say this but it is not very idiomatic; it sounds strange;

  • Je suis avec mon ami, nous mangeons maintenant.

Fully idiomatic is this;

  • Je suis avec mon ami, nous sommes en train de manger.

II

"Mon ami et moi mange" is not correct grammatically.

"Moi et mon ami" is a possibility nowadays; there used to be a rule of politeness saying that the person speaking should be mentioned last (mon ami et moi), but people seem not to bother much about it any more.

  • I am rather happy that a native French speaker verified that mon ami et moi mangeons is not idiomatic. +1☺ – Dimitris Aug 7 at 0:07
  • @Dimitris Certain questions of idiomaticity, such as this one, are really sorry aspects of the French language; when you consider that you only have to change the rightful pronoun (nous) into an after all illigitimate pronoun (on) to make things right (idiomatic) you begin wondering what in the end you can believe in. – LPH Aug 7 at 13:15
  • Thanks a lot for your response! The "Mon ami et moi mangeons" was just an example, not something I specifically wanted to say. I was just generally confused about the conjugation. To be clear, are there ever instances where I can say "mon ami et moi " + a verb, without introducing "on" (while still sounding idiomatic)? For example: "Je ne veux pas diner maintenant, parce que mon ami et moi allons jouer au football". Or is: "parce que mon ami et moi, on va jouer au football" much more natural? – Myggen-- Aug 7 at 14:53
  • @Myggen-- There are countless examples and not using the redondant "on" is the mark of a more distinguished way of speaking; "on" in that contexte is colloquial because it is redondant. – LPH Aug 8 at 7:09

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