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Whether you’re just learning French or about to take a trip to a French-speaking country, “thank you” is one of the first phrases you should learn. The basic way to say thank you in French is merci (MAIR-see), but in some situations, that simple, two-syllable word may not seem like enough. Just as in English, there are alternative phrases in French that you can use to express your gratitude.
Say “merci.” The single word merci is the most common way to say “thank you” in French. It is used by all French speakers and will be understood anywhere in the world where French is spoken.
- Merci is used in both formal and casual settings, and the spelling does not change regardless of the person you’re thanking.
- You can say “merci” while smiling and nodding if you want to accept something offered to you. Likewise, you can turn down something offered by saying “merci” while shaking your head.
Add “madame” (mah-DAHM) or “monsieur” (muh-SYUHR) for politeness. If you’re speaking to someone you don’t know, especially someone older than you or in a position of authority, follow your thanks with the appropriate French word for “ma’am” or “sir.”
- Use these words whenever you would address someone as “ma’am” or “sir” in English. When in doubt, err on the side of politeness and allow the other person to correct you if they don’t want you to address them so formally.
Use adjectives to show extreme gratitude. Sometimes the simple word merci just doesn’t seem like enough. There are several words and phrases you can add to it if you want to emphasize your gratitude to the person.
- The most common is merci beaucoup (MAIR-see BOW-koo), which means “thank you very much” or “thanks a lot.”
- Another common expression is merci mille fois or mille mercis, which means “a thousand thanks” or “thank you a thousand times.”
Watch your tone when saying “merci bien.” The word bien (BEE-ehn) means “well” or “good,” and when used with merci the phrase means “thanks a lot.” However, French speakers may interpret this particular phrase as being sarcastic.
- For example, someone might say “Merci bien, mais j’ai pas que ça à faire!” or “Thanks a lot, but I have better things to do!”
- When in doubt, you’re generally better off using “merci beaucoup” instead of “merci bien.”
Add pour (pohr) to thank someone for something specific. The word pour means “for” in French, and would be used before the name of the action or object given to you. If you’re a native English speaker, note that even though this word is spelled the same as the English verb “pour,” it is pronounced more like “pore.”
- For example, you might say “Merci pour les fleurs,” or “thank you for the flowers.”
Try “c’est vraiment gentil de votre/ton part” (say VRAY-mahn ZHAHN-tee duh VOH-truh/tohn pahr). If someone does you a favor or offers you something, you might want to include a statement of how nice they are. This phrase literally means “this is really nice on your part.” Use votre for older people you don’t know, and ton for friends, or people your own age and younger.
- Use this phrase in the same contexts when you would say “that’s very nice of you” or “how kind of you” in English.
- Just as in English, you can combine this phrase with the word merci. For example, if you were sweating on a hot day and someone offered you a cool glass of water, you might say “C’est vraiment gentil de ton part, merci!”
Pay attention to context. The verb remercier means “to thank” in French, but its usage is much more formal than it would be to use the similar verb in English. Generally speaking, this verb is best used in formal, written communication.
- You also might use it conversationally in more formal settings, such as during a job interview or while speaking to law enforcement or other government authority.
Conjugate the verb correctly. In most cases, you’ll be using the first-person singular form of the verb remercier, since you are the one thanking someone. Use the first-person plural if you are expressing thanks on behalf of yourself and someone else.
- Remercier is a reflexive verb. Be careful to conjugate it based on the subject of the sentence, not the person you are thanking. Use the formal reflexive pronoun vous for people who are older than you or in a position of authority.
- To say “I thank you,” you would say “je te remercie” (zhuh tuh ray-MAIR-see) or “je vous remercie” (zhuh voo ray-MAIR-see).
- To say “we thank you,” you would say “nous te remercions” (noo tuh ray-MAIR-see-ohn) or “nous vous remercions” (noo voo ray-MAIR-see-ohn).
Include the object of thanks. Just as when saying merci, you can use the word pour to state specifically what you are thanking the other person for. This would most commonly be used when thanking someone long after the fact for something they gave to you or did for you earlier.
- For example, if you saw someone who had sent you flowers last week for your birthday, you might say “Je te remercie pour les fleurs,” or “I thank you for the flowers.”
Express thanks with remercier when writing letters. An expression of gratitude often occurs at the end of a letter, such as when you’re requesting something from a business or government official in a more formal context.
- For example, if you were writing a letter to an employer to apply for a job, you might conclude your letter with “je vous remercie de votre attention,” which means “I thank you for your attention.”
Use the noun form of remercier in formal writing. As in English, the French verb remercier can also be used as a noun. Create the noun form of the verb by dropping the ending and adding -ments.
- The word remerciements typically is used in a letter or email, when you are sending along thanks to someone. The s at the end indicates this is a plural word – thanks. Typically it’s used in the plural, not the singular. Remember to include the article “les” in front of it.
- For example, if you were passing along someone else’s gratitude, you might write “Tu as les remerciements de Pascal,” or “you have Pascal’s thanks.”
- Remerciements also can be used in the closing of a letter. For example, you might write “avec tout mes remerciements,” which means “with all my thanks” or “with all my gratitude.”
Say “de rien” (duh RREE-ehn). This is the easiest and most common way to respond when someone expresses thanks to you. The literal translation is “of nothing,” but it is used the same way you would say “it’s nothing” in English or “de nada” in Spanish.
- The word rien uses the French R, which can be one of the most difficult French sounds for English speakers to make correctly. The French R is a guttural sound pronounced from your throat, not the tip of your tongue as in English.
- You can also say “ce n’est rien” (suh nay RREE-ehn), which translates more directly to “it is nothing.”
Use “merci à toi” (MAIR-see ah twah) to thank someone in return. There may be occasions where someone thanks you for something when you feel that it’s really you who should be thanking them. This phrase is similar to saying “No, thank you” in English.
- Remember to use vous instead of toi with older people or strangers, to show respect.
Alternate with “il n’y a pas de quoi” (eel nee-YAH pahs duh kwah). As in English, there are a variety of phrases you can use when someone says “thank you” in French. Although the literal translation is nonsensical in English (literally “there is nothing of what”), “Il n’y a pas de quoi” is used to mean “it’s nothing” or “don’t mention it.”
- This phrase can be used both in casual and more formal speech, regardless of the person you’re thanking.
Say “pas de problème” (pah duh prahb-LEHM) in casual settings. When a friend or acquaintance expresses their gratitude, you can respond with this phrase, which means “no problem” or “not a problem” in English.
- If you’re unsure when to use this phrase, think about when you would say “no problem” in English. You probably wouldn’t use a phrase this casual with someone significantly older than you, or with a government official.
Try “je vous en prie” (zhuh vooz-ahn pree) or “je t’en prie” (zhuh tahn pree) when speaking more formally. This phrase literally means “I beg of you,” but is used in situations where you want to impress upon the person thanking you that there’s no need for their gratitude.
- When deciding when to use this phrase, think about times in English when you would say something like “Oh, please! Don’t mention it!” These occasions are perfect for “je t’en prie.”
- You’ll be more likely to use vous with this phrase, since it’s typically more formal.
Use bienvenue in Quebec. The word bienvenue literally means “welcome,” as in the word you would use to welcome someone to a place. Although this word typically isn’t used as a response to thanks by other French speakers, it is common among the Quebeçois.
- For example, if you were in a café in Montreal and thanked your server for bringing your latte, the server might respond “bienvenue.”
Add New Question
How do I say “Thank you for the document” in French?
“Merci pour le document.”
How do I say “you’re my best friend” in French?
Tu es mon/ma meilleur(e) ami(e). Use masculine mon for a male and feminine ma for a female and add an “e” at the end if its’ a girlfriend.
How do I say “Thank you” and “Love you all” in French?
You say “merci” for thank you and “je vous aimes tous” for love you all!
There’s an “e” at the end of “je te remercie” and “je vous remercie”, right?
Yes there is an “e”!
How do I say “Thank you very much for your warmest birthday wishes” in French?
Birthday wishes are “souhaits d’anniversaire,” while “thank you very much” is “merci beaucoup.” Your full sentence would be “Merci beaucoup pour vos souhaits d’anniversaire les plus chaleureux.”
How do I say “Thank you for the second chance.”?
“Merci de m’avoir donné une second chance.” (Literally, in English, “Thank you for giving me a second chance.”)
How do I say, “We hope to see you next year” in French?
“Nous espérons te voir l’année prochaine,” if you’re talking to one person and the context is informal. “Nous espérons vous voir l’année prochaine,” if you’re talking to one person and the context is formal or if you’re talking to more than one person.
How do I say, “I appreciate the service you give”?
You say “j’apprécie les services que tu me rends” (literally, “I appreciate the services you give me”).
How do I say “Thank you very much, you are so sweet”?
Say: “Merci beaucoup, t’est trop gentil.” Translation: “Thanks a lot, you’re too nice.”
How do I introduce myself in French as a girl or boy?
Bounjour! Je m’appelle (Your name). Je suis: un garcon (a boy) or une fille (a girl).
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People typically don’t say “thank you” as often in French-speaking cultures as they do in English-speaking cultures. If you’re unsure whether a “thank you” is appropriate, listen to those around you for cues.
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About This Article
To say “Thank you” in formal French, saying “Merci.” If you’re speaking to someone you don’t know, follow your thank you with “Madame” or “Monsieur” for politeness. In order to add a show of extreme gratitude, tell the person you’re thanking “Merci beaucoup,” for “Thank you very much.” Another common expression is “Merci mille fois” or “Mille mercis,” which means “A thousand thanks” or “Thank you a thousand times.” To learn how to thank a person for something specific in French, keep reading!
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