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INTERMEDIATE. LESSON #31. DÉPART EN VACANCES

- Les enfants, on se dépêche. Il nous reste une longue route à faire.
- Grouille-toi, Victor !
- On ne dit pas ça, Suzanne. On dit : dépêche-toi. Mais tu as raison sur un point, il ne faut pas traîner. On nous a dit qu’il y avait des bouchons après 8h du mat.
- Mais est-ce qu’on était obligé de se lever à 5h30 pour autant ?
- On est jamais trop prudent.
TRANSLATION
- Kids, hurry up. We still have a long road ahead.
- Make it snappy, Victor.
- No, you can’t say that, Suzanne. You have to say : hurry up. But you are right, we have to get a move on. We’ve been told there is traffic jam after 8:00 am.
- But did we have to wake up at 5:30 am, however ?
- We can’t be too careful.
The locution Grouille-toi (imperative mood of the verb se grouiller) means the same as Dépêche-toi (verb se dépécher) but it’s really more colloquial. It’s almost slang. Ne traîne pas is another way to say to ask someone to hurry up. It’s a little bit colloquial but not that much.

Après 8 heures du mat’ means après 8 heures du matin. Mat’ is a casual abbreviation for matin. You’ll hear it very often in France.
Se dépêcher : to hurry up.
Se grouiller : to hurry up (in slang), to make it snappy.
Traîner : to linger on.
Bouchon (de circulation) (masc.) : traffic jam.
Prudent : careful, cautious, wise.
On is a pronoun. We already met it in Beginner1 - lesson 26. We saw there that on is a personal pronoun that can replace nous. It’s always the subject of a sentence.

Here's an example :
Est-ce qu’on était obligés ?
on = Marie, Jean, Suzanne and Victor.

But it also has other meanings and other roles. We have some of them in this lesson.
On can sometimes replace vous.
Les enfants, on se dépêche = les enfants, dépêchez-vous.

On can sometimes be an indefinite pronoun : it literally means one. It may designate everybody, people in general.
On ne dit pas, on dit ça.
We use it in proverbs, maxims and stock expressions.
On n’est jamais trop prudents.

On may also be used to designate someone you don’t really know, one or more persons, such as people who give information on TV and radio traffic monitoring service.
On nous a dit qu’il y avait des bouchons après 8h du mat’.

Attention !
Don’t forget that on conjugates as il or elle even if it means nous or vous or is used for a group.
On dit, on se dépêche, on est obligés.

Attention !
On is often equivalent to the English passive voice.
On nous a dit = we’ve been told.
Translate in English :
1. Maman, on va à la piscine aujourd’hui ?
2. On nous a conseillé de faire attention.
3. Suzanne, on doit se taire quand les adultes parlent.
4. On ne peut pas vivre avec 300 euros par mois.

Translate in French using on :
1. Someone’s calling you.
2. Kids, calm down.
3. They didn’t ask me for my opinion.
4. He’s said to be very mean.

Answers

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