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Salutations – Greetings

French greetings: Essential phrases for polite conversations

French people are pretty strict on greetings and politeness. And not being French is not an excuse monsieur 😝 Please please say at least bonjour and avoid getting beaten up!



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Here is an example of what can happen if you forget to say hello:

A while back, I was in Paris and needed to find the Cité subway station. I decided to ask a lady on the street for directions, speaking to her in French, of course.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” I said, “I’m looking for the Cité subway station. Can you tell me where it is?”

To my surprise, she seemed upset. She gave me a stern look, stared right into my eyes, and scolded me, saying:

“Bonjour !!”

Her response felt like a scolding from my mom when I was a kid.

It was then that I realised my mistake. Even though I had tried to ask for directions politely, I had forgotten the most basic thing: saying “hello.” It was a big blunder!

Quand on rencontre quelqu’un – French greetings when meeting someone

There are 3 main options to greet someone: bonjour, bonsoir and salut. How do you decide which word you use to say “hello“? Well, it depends on the moment of the day and the person you talk to. Just to say hello in French, you’ll have to concentrate hard. 😉

🇫🇷WhenTo whom
BonjourUp to 5-6pmEveryone
BonsoirAfter 5-6pmEveryone
SalutAll dayFriends (equivalent to “Hi”)

To be sure you are polite, it is always better to add “madame“, “monsieur” or “mademoiselle” after “bonjour” or “bonsoir”.

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 English
bonjour mademoisellegood morning miss
bonsoir madamegood evening misses
bonsoir monsieurgood evening sir

Mariah Carey speaking French

🇫🇷 Apparemment depuis que Mariah Carey étudie le français sur, elle a bien progressé …

🇬🇧 Apparently, since Mariah Carey started studying French at, she’s made a lot of progress …

Quand on quitte quelqu’un – French greetings when leaving someone

Once again, you need to carefully choose which word you will use to say goodbye to someone in French, depending on the moment of the day and the person you interact with.

🇫🇷WhenTo whom
Au revoirUp to 5-6pmEveryone
BonsoirAfter 5-6pmEveryone
Salut !All dayFriends
Ciao !All dayFriends
Bye !All dayFriends
French greetings from Astérix and Obélix

Astérix and Obélix saying Au revoir

🇫🇷 Astérix est une série de bande dessinée française créée par le scénariste français René Goscinny et le dessinateur français Albert Uderzo.
Les ventes cumulées des albums, traduits dans cent dix-sept langues et dialectes, représentent 393 millions d’exemplaires, ce qui en fait la bande dessinée la plus vendue dans le monde après le manga One Piece.

🇬🇧 Astérix is a French comic book series created by French scriptwriter René Goscinny and French cartoonist Albert Uderzo.
Cumulative sales of the albums, translated into one hundred and seventeen languages and dialects, total 393 million copies, making it the best-selling comic book in the world after the manga One Piece.

Bon/ Bonne … ! – Have a nice/good …!

When you leave a person, you can accompany your French greetings by wishing the person a good time such as:

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 English
Bonne journée !Have a nice day!
Bonne après-midi !Have a nice afternoon!
Bonne soirée !Have a nice evening!
Bonne nuit !Have a good night! (use it when the person is going to bed)

À … ! – See you …!

Do you plan to see the person again soon? Here are your main options:

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 English
À bientôt !See you soon!
À demain !See you tomorrow!
À tout à l’heure !See you later! / See you in a while! / See you in a bit!
(When you know that you are going to see that person later in the day)
À plus tard !See you later!
(When you don’t know when you will see this person again)
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