Politeness

French politeness
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Politesse

After bonjour, polite phrases like "please" and "thank you" are the most important French vocabulary you’ll ever learn. When you visit France, knowing just these few phrases will go a long way, even if the very next thing you say is Parlez-vous anglais ?

please

plural or formal   s’il vous plaît SVP
singular and familiar   s’il te plaît STP
    
before a verb
   please wait
   please sit down
  veuillez + infinitive*
   veuillez patienter
   veuillez vous asseoir

thank you

  
merci
very much  merci beaucoup
merci bien
so much, a million, bless you  mille fois merci, merci mille fois
(literally, "thanks a thousand times")
More ways to say “thank you”
Merci de vs merci pour

you’re welcome

it was my pleasure
   (plural or formal)
   (singular and familiar)
  
je vous en prie
je t’en prie
it was nothing  de rien
don’t mention it  pas de quoi
More about responding to merci

excuse me

(to get past someone)  pardon
(to get someone’s attention)  excusez-moi
I’m sorry to bother/disturb you  Excusez-moi de vous déranger

I’m sorry

(for something you did)  je suis désolé(e)
(in response to sad news)  je suis navré(e)

good wishes

cheers (when toasting)
   (plural or formal)
   (singular and familiar)
  
à votre santé !
à ta santé !
 
à la vôtre !
à la tienne !
   More about saying “cheers”
enjoy your meal  bon appétit !
   More about saying "bon appétit"
bless you (after a sneeze)
   (plural or formal)
   (singular and familiar)
 
à vos souhaits
à tes souhaits
   More about saying “bless you”

titles

Sir, Mr.   Monsieur M.
Ma’am, Mrs.   Madame Mme
Miss   Mademoiselle Mlle

* Veuillez is the imperative of vouloir.

Quiz: Tu vs vous

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French politeness

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2 Responses

  1. Phil 21 July 2014 / 22:30

    I’m loving your new website, and a different take on the lessons that on the old site.

    Would ‘Monsieur-dame’ also be counted in here? Or is that more just used by waiters / waitresses, etc?

    • lkl 22 July 2014 / 5:26

      That’s kind of a special case, so I’m going to address it separately (some day…)