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🅲 How to say “you” in French: “tu” or “vous”?

Comment dire “you” en français : “tu” ou “vous” ?

How to say “you” in French: “tu” or “vous”?

tu or vous in french



10 minutes

Écrit par / Written by: Anthony Lucas

Dernière révision / Last update: 10 April 2024

Quand utiliser “vous” en français ? – When do you use the French you “vous”?

The pronoun “vous” can be used to refer to a single person or a group of people.

vous” pour s’adresser à plusieurs personnes – “vous” to address several people

I’m talking to you, you, you, you, you and you. In other words, I’m addressing all of you: you are all to blame!” In this example, you understand that the “you” in the last sentence means “you guys”. It is a “you” plural. In that case in the French language, there’s no doubt about it: you’re going to use “vous“. This is the only option you have.

vous” pour s’adresser à une seule personne – “vous” to address a single person

It’s when you’re addressing a single person that the choice arises between “tu” and “vous“.

vous” is the formal you. When using vous to talk to someone, you show some distance, meaning you don’t know each other very well.

You will use vous:

➡️ when addressing someone you meet for the first time
➡️ in a work environment (depending on the ambiance / unless someone invites you to use “tu” with them)
➡️ with the employees of shops, restaurants,…
➡️ when you don’t know if saying “tu” or “vous

you in French formal at a restaurant: vous

Quand utiliser “tu” en français ? – When do you use the French you “tu”?

tu is the informal you. When using tu to talk to someone, you show some closeness with this person.

You will use tu:

➡️ with children
➡️ with friends and relatives
➡️ with people who officially invited you to use tu with them
➡️ in an informal context such as during a party, in a bar, on holidays,…
➡️ with pets 🐶🐈

you in French informal with friends: tu

You may already know that in French, the form of a verb changes according to the subject. It means that for any sentence you will structure with you, you will have to learn 2 ways of conjugating this

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 English
Vous aimez la France ?
Do you like France?
Tu aimes la France ?
Do you like France?
Vous êtes Julie ?
Are you Julie?
Tu es Julie ?
Are you Julie?

Autres informations autour de “tu/vous” en français – Other facts around the you in French

Tutoyer and vouvoyer

2 French verbs exist meaning “speak using vous” and “speak using tu“. They are respectively “vouvoyer” and “tutoyer“. These verbs are useful when you don’t know if you should use you in French formal: vous, or you in French informal: tu with the person you talk with.

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 English
On peut se tutoyer ?Can we say informal you (tu) to each other?

On peut se tutoyer ?
from the French movie La cité de la peur

🇫🇷 Ce dialogue est issu d’une comédie policière française, écrite par le trio comique Les Nuls, sortie en 1994 qui s’appelle La cité de la peur.

“- On peut se tutoyer ?
– Oui !
– T’es lourd !”

🇬🇧 This dialogue comes from a French crime comedy, written by the comedy trio Les Nuls and released in 1994, called La cité de la peur (The City of Fear).

“- Can we say “tu” to each other?
– Yes!
– You’re a drag!”

2 versions pour le mot “please” – 2 versions for the word “please

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 English
s’il vous plaît
s’il te plaît

To know more about being polite in French, have a look at this lesson.

2 versions pour le mot “your” – 2 versions for the word “your

As there are 2 versions for you in French as a subject, there are as well 2 versions for your, yours and all words including a notion of possessiveness.

The word “your” can be:
➡️ ton, ta or tes (depending if masculine, feminine or plural) when in tu-mode or
➡️ votre or vos (depending if singular or plural) when in vous-mode.

To know more about the possessive adjectives, have a look at this lesson.

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 English
C’est votre passeport ?
Is it your passport?
C’est ton passeport ?
Is it your passport?
Donnez-moi votre téléphone s’il vous plait.Give me your phone please.
Donne-moi ton téléphone s’il te plait.Give me your phone please.

You will progressively learn in the next lessons, for each category of words, the 2 versions related to you in French.



Choosing between “tu” and “vous” can be challenging.

In case of doubt, choose the safe way and go with “vous“.

Once you choose the “tu”-mode or the “vous”-mode, stick to it: you will probably need to choose carefully other words such as your (ton ? ta ? votre ?).

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