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Formal French Acronym

Meaning please respond
Literally respond if you please
Register formal
Pronunciation French sound files [ehr es vay pay]
IPA   [ɛʀ ɛs ve pe]

Usage notes: RSVP is short for rĂ©pondez s’il vous plaĂ®t, but this acronym has passed out of favor in France, where it’s considered too formal and old-fashioned. Instead, the French say rĂ©ponse souhaitĂ©e and then their preferred date and/or method of response.

Par exemple…

RĂ©ponse souhaitĂ©e avant le 15 aoĂ»t.   Please respond by 15 August.
RĂ©ponse souhaitĂ©e Ă   Please respond by calling
RĂ©ponse souhaitĂ©e par mail.   Please respond by email.

 En anglais

Though it’s on its last legs in France, RSVP is alive and well on English-language invitations. Unfortunately, most English speakers seem to think it’s just a fancy synonym for "respond" and therefore say "please RSVP," which makes it redundant (or pleading): "please please respond."

RSVP is also used as an informal English verb:

Par exemple…

I’m going to RSVP tomorrow.

Everyone prefers RSVPing by email.

Only 10 people have RSVPed so far.

 A small matter of etiquette

  • RSVP = Respond whether your answer is yes or no
  • RSVP regrets only = Only respond if you will not attend; not responding is taken as a yes.

Variation: R.S.V.P.

Related acronym: SVP / S.V.P.s’il vous plaĂ®t  (please)

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