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Learn the Common Formal and Informal Greetings in French Language

Greetings in French
Greeting are important for every language; they decide the tone of the conversation that follows. This article lists some greetings in French as well as some examples to help you understand how to use them.
Penlighten Staff
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Greetings are of utmost importance in any language, simply because they decide the tone and the direction of the conversation. If you go wrong with the greetings, there are chances that the rest of your conversation is not going to be very pleasant. Presented here are some greetings in French, along with some phrases that will help you in a conversation after a greeting.
Tips on the Basics
Here are some tips on the basic etiquette and pronunciation you should keep in mind.
  • There is a strict formal and informal code of conduct that is to be followed when speaking French. 'Vous' is used formally, while 'tu' is used informally. Use 'tu' only when you speak to someone you know very well, otherwise keep the conversation formal.
  • When greeting someone formally, a handshake should always accompany the greeting. In case it is informal, you may follow the greeting with a kiss on both the cheeks.
  • French requires the use of nasal sounds when pronouncing certain words. The general rule is that when the consonant 'n' or 'm' appears after a vowel (a, e, i, o, u), the pronunciation of that word is nasal. For instance, 'Bonjour' is pronounced 'Bo-(n: silent)-jour'.
  • This language can be best learned by listening to the way the French speak, and imitating their ways.
Greetings
The greetings mentioned here have been given both in a formal as well as informal manner. As mentioned earlier, the tone of the conversation depends on the person you are talking to.
English Phrase Formal Greetings Informal Greetings
Hello/Good Morning Bonjour Salut
Good Afternoon (only used to bid goodbye) Bon aprés midi Bon aprés midi
Good Evening Bonsoir (after 6 pm) Salut
Welcome Bienvenue Bienvenue
Mr. Monsieur Monsieur
Mrs. Madame Madame
Miss/Ms. Madamoiselle Madamoiselle
What is your name? Comment vous appellez-vous? Tu-t'appelle comment?
My name is... Je m'appelle... Je m'appelle...
How are you? Comment allez-vous? Comment ça va? / Ça va?
Very well. Trés bien. / Je vais bien. Ça va bien.
Not bad. Pas mal. Pas mal.
So-So. Comme-Ci Comme Ça. Comme-ci Comme ça.
Not so well. Pas si bien. / Pas trés bien. Pas si bien. / Pas trés bien.
Bad. Mal. Ça va mal.
And you? Et vous? Et tu?
I'm happy to meet you. Je suis heureux(se) de faire votre connaissance. Enchanté(e).
Pleasure. Hereux(se). Hereux(se).
Nice to see you. Ça fait plaisir de vous revoir. Ça fail plaisir de te revoir.
I would like you to meet... Je vous présente... Je te présente...
I would like to meet you. J'aimerais/voudrais vous rencontrer. Je voudrais te rencontrer.
What's new? ~ Quoi de neuf?
Nothing much. ~ Pas grand chose.
Thank you. Merci. Merci.
You're welcome. Je vous en prie. De rien.
Excuse me. Excusez-moi. Excusez-moi.
After you. Apres vous. ~
Conversation Examples
So that you understand the general flow of a conversation when greeting someone in French, here are a few examples to explain the basics.
Formal Conversation
Example 1
Person 1: Bonjour Madame.
Person 2: Bonjour, comment allez-vous?
Person 1: Je vais bien, merci. Et vous?
Person 2: Je vais bien.

Example 2
Person 1: Bonjour Monsieur.
Person 2: Bonjour.
Person 1: Je vous présente mon ami(e) (my friend), Jean.
Person 2: Ah! Ça fait plaisir de vous revoir.
Informal Conversation
Example 1
Person 1: Salut, comment-ça va?
Person 2: Ça va bien, et toi?
Person 1: Trés bien.

Example 2
Person 1: Salut, Michelle.
Person 2: Salut, ça va?
Person 1: Ça va bien, je te présente mon ami(e), Michel.
Person 3: Je suis heureux de faire votre connaissance.
Person 2: Hereuse.

Dazzle all your French acquaintances by using these greetings whenever and wherever applicable. Remember to follow the basic etiquette such as shaking hands, or a kiss on the cheek along with the greetings.