Is it necessary to use the pronoun nous if the subject includes moi as in

Mon ami et moi nous sommes allés

or is it ok to just say

mon ami et moi sommes allés


3 Answers 3


You can say both but be aware that the first person plural has mostly disappeared from conversational French so the most usual way to say it would be:

Mon ami et moi, on est allés...

In that case, the pronoun is mandatory as you can't say "mon ami et moi est allés..."

  • @thiebo You can edit a post to fix grammar/spelling, include additional information, add updates or hyperlinks, or clarify its meaning, but not to substantially change its meaning without risking to have your edit rejected or rolled-back. About on usage and your downvote, I'm reporting a well known and studied fact, not an opinion. There can be a large gap between reality and the image some people have of it...
    – jlliagre
    Dec 2, 2020 at 0:40
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    I was at first extremely perplexted about the usage of "on" and now I am grateful - it suffices for a lot more situations than just the first person plural... First and third person singular too, in many cases you can create an "on"-using sentence. Lifesaver for those who suddenly happen to work/live in France with no prior knowledge of French...
    – Stian
    Dec 2, 2020 at 12:33
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    @FlorianCastelain You are not alone. Many people believe the first person plural is still used by themselves or other people in day to day conversation, but spoken French corpora studies shows it mostly only subsists in formal speech and written French, and even in that case on competes with it. It's kind of similar to non native English students being taught when to use "I shall" or "I will", or when to use "whom" to finally discover no native English speaker use them in the real life and some even consider using them pretentious.
    – jlliagre
    Dec 2, 2020 at 16:33
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    Do I sound like a weirdo when I use "nous" instead of "on"? I think I only use "on" in fixed phrases like "on y va". Dec 2, 2020 at 18:55
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    @WaterMolecule No, thou shalt not worry about it ! You would only sound a little bit too much formal but that's always less an issue than being too colloquial. Nous + 1st person plural verb is definitely known and occasionally used, unlike thou ;-)
    – jlliagre
    Dec 2, 2020 at 21:47

no, it is not necessary. You can say :

Mon ami et moi sommes allés à...

Note that if you use the "nous", it becomes an emphasis and you should use a comma :

Mon ami et moi, nous sommes allés à ... 

The only case where you would have to repeat the "nous" would be for a self-reflecting verb. For instance, "nous nous sommes habillés" ("we dressed ourselves", or more correctly "we dressed") would transpose into "mon ami et moi nous sommes habillés" ("my friend and me dressed ourselves", or more correctly "my friend and myself dressed").

  • 3
    In fact you have to use the pronoun one more time, otherwise what you are saying is "we are not naked".
    – LPH
    Dec 1, 2020 at 15:58
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    @LPH Your interpretation only works if there is a pause in speech materialized by a comma: Nous, nous sommes habillés. Of course, a third pronoun might be used: Nous, nous nous sommes habillés.
    – jlliagre
    Dec 1, 2020 at 22:36

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