We present a sociolinguistic analysis of the third person plural verbal suffix -ont in the variety of Acadian French spoken in the northeastern region of New Brunswick. The analysis shows that variation in the use of this traditional morpheme is conditioned by external factors and in particular by social network. In addition, retention of -ont is conditioned by an internal factor, as this suffix regularizes the singular/plural contrast in stems, and the 3SG/3PL contrast in verbal paradigms. The more -ont optimizes these contrasts, the greater the tendency to maintain this morpheme. Thus, forms such as i-pouvont, i-voulont, and i-buvont— which allow speakers to communicate their identity and social position within their speech community as well as to optimize the use of forms in the verb paradigms — have a greater probability of being retained than other forms that offer fewer benefits.