Even if you do not really speak French, it is worth knowing at least the
following simple French words and phrases such as the French for "hello", "goodbye" etc.
This page lists a few basic French greetings, along with their pronunciations.
Although many French speakers will know the
English equivalents of these basic words and phrases, they will still appreciate the effort if you take the trouble
to learn simple words such as these basic salutations.
The French greetings below are organised into various lists. To hear the pronunciation of the
French greetings in each list, click or tap the 'speaker' icon.
Very basic greetings
Firstly, even if you "don't speak French", you may well have heard some of
the following already.
* The formal versions are used roughly to where
you're not on first name terms with a person, whereas the informal
versions would be used in cases where you are on first name terms
(e.g. friends and family, colleagues of a similar rank). The situation
is a little more complex than this: for more information, see the
section on when
to use tu and vous.
Introducing yourself in French
The following are also useful for introducing yourself in French:
A question that sometimes arises among learners is "how do you
say 'Pleased to meet you' in French?" Well, the possibly surprising
answer is that often, French people meeting for the first time will
simply say Bonjour!. The following are also possible:
An interesting point raised by Natalie Schorr (2004), Tune Up Your French is that some speakers may find the simple "heureux"/"heureuse" a little abrupt, and that in practice, you may be better off simply saying
Being polite in French
Here are some basic expressions of courtesy:
not at all!, no problem!, you're welcome!, sure! (US)
In informal e-mails and SMS messages, it's common to write A+ instead
of à plus.
The following are used to 'wish somebody well'. Note that it's quite a
common formula in French to use the adjective bon(ne) plus a noun
to mean enjoy your ..., good luck with the .... Here are
some common examples, but you may come across others:
have a good day!
have a good evening!
good luck! (="keep at it!", "be persistent!")
good luck! (used when there is actual luck involved)