Greetings in French – Learn how to use them

How to greet people in French

When you learn a new language, the greetings are usually one of the first thing you will learn.

Each country or culture has its own way of greeting others, and these greetings are a part of every conversation, so it’s important to learn them properly in order to avoid mistake when you meet someone.

For instance, in French as in English, there are different ways to say “hello” when you meet someone, for example, at a job interview, at school, in a store, or with relatives. Just as there are different ways to say “hello” in your native language, there are different rules to follow in French.

It is important to know the common greetings and how to use them properly and confidently if you moved to France or plan to move there.

In this lesson, you will learn vocabulary about the greetings, and you can listen to the audio file or watch the video to help you with the pronunciation.

Formal greeting – Salutation formelle

Bonjour = Hello

You can use it from morning until 6pm. We use it for good morning as well, so using “bon matin” is not correct. (matin = morning)

Example : 

Bonjour monsieur = Hello Sir

Bonjour madame = Hello Madam


Bonsoir = Good evening

You can use it after 6pm to say hello, but also sometimes to say goodbye.

Example : 

Bonsoir monsieur = Good evening Sir

Bonsoir madame = Good evening Madam


Au revoir = Goodbye

Example : 

Merci, au revoir = Thank you, goodbye

Unformal greeting – Salutation informelle

Salut = Hi

You can use it with your family, friends, colleagues, teammates, kids, to say hi and goodbye.

Example : 

Salut Martin = Hi Martin

Comment vas-tu ? = How are you ?

Je pars, salut. = I am leaving, goodbye.

If you live in France, you will notice that we also say, “bye” or “ciao” sometimes.


À plus tard = See you later

You can use it with your family, friends, colleagues, teammates to say goodbye.

Example : 

J’y vais, à plus tard. = I am going, see you later.

If you live in France, you will notice that we also say, “à plus” sometimes.

À plus = See you

J’y vais, à plus. = I am going, see you.


À toute à l’heure = See you later.

You can use it with your family, friends, colleagues, teammates to say goodbye.

Example : 

J’y vais, à toute à l’heure. = I am going, see you later.

If you live in France, you will notice that we also say, “à toute” sometimes.

J’y vais, à toute. = I am going, see you.


À bientôt = See you soon

Example : 

J’y vais, à bientôt. = I am going, see you soon. (unformal greeting)

Au revoir, à bientôt. = Goodbye, see you soon. (formal greeting)


À demain = See you tomorrow

Example : 

J’y vais, à demain. = I am going, see you tomorrow. (unformal greeting)

Au revoir, à demain. = Goodbye, see you tomorrow. (formal greeting)


À la semaine prochaine = See you next week

Example : 

Salut, à la semaine prochaine. = Bye, see you next week. (unformal greeting)

Au revoir, à la semaine prochaine. = Goodbye, see you next week. (formal greeting)


Bonne journée = Have a good day

Example : 

Salut, bonne journée. = Bye, have a good day. (unformal greeting)

Au revoir, bonne journée. = Goodbye, have a good day. (formal greeting)


Bonne après-midi = Have a good afternoon

You can also write “bon après-midi”, both are correct.

Example : 

Salut, bonne après-midi. = Bye, have a good afternoon. (unformal greeting)

Au revoir, bonne après-midi. = Goodbye, have a good afternoon. (formal greeting)


Bonne soirée = Have a good evening

Example : 

Salut, bonne soirée. = Bye, have a good evening. (unformal greeting)

Au revoir, bonne soirée. = Goodbye, have a good evening. (formal greeting)


Bonne nuit = Have a good night

Example : 

Salut, bonne nuit. = Bye, have a good night.

By using “bonne nuit”, you assume that your friend is going home to sleep, however, if you left a party, and your friend/friends are still staying, you will use “bonne soirée” instead.

You can also watch our video to learn how to greet people in French :

We hope this lesson was helpful for you, if you have any questions, please leave a comment.

 

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