How do you say “Please” in French? There are different ways of saying “Please” in a different languages, read here to know more.
How to say “please” in French?
Interacting with native French speakers
Remember that most Frenchs don’t speak much English. If they do, it’s primarily macaronique:
broken English laced with facial emotions, body language, and the inevitable hand gestures that are the signature of every French speaker.
English and French have highly different accents, syntax, and vocabulary, and Frenchs are frequently anxious while speaking English.
Knowing a few important words in French may put your French friends at ease and help them communicate more efficiently and effectively. You don’t have to be fluent to converse with native French speakers; merely a few phrases in French will make them feel at ease and grateful.
Frenchs are frequently very welcoming to anyone studying their native language; they will often be eager to converse with you and help you practice, and you will rapidly build a bond. One of the most excellent ways to start learning French is, to begin with, easy everyday expressions like saying hello and goodbye, please and thank you, ordering meals in a restaurant, and making small talk.
You will not only acquire some French words and phrases this way, but you will also be able to speak in your target language from the outset. Even with simple statements, it’s critical to consider nuances and implications. For example, there are various ways to say please in French, which may be appropriate in different situations.
How to say please in French?
All the other ways to express “please” in French, beyond the standard “s’il vous plaît”!
“Please” (and “thank you”) are two of the first words you learn in French.
S’il vous plaît is the usual way of saying “please.” There’s nothing wrong with this, and it works in various settings.
However, s’il vous plaît is occasionally too formal. And sometimes, it’s due to the incorrect translation of “please,” which has distinct meanings in English.
Basic phrases to say please in French
S’il vous plaît
You’ve certainly heard of s’il vous plaît, but I’d like to emphasize when you should utilize the most basic version of the request in French.
S’il vous plaît basically means “if it brings you joy” or “if it pleases you.”
In French, you use this version of please when you’re requesting someone to do something for you, such as give you something or do something for you.
Please in French to a friend or child
- s’il te plaît
- s’t plaît
To say please to a friend or a youngster in French, tweak it slightly: s’il te plaît is the more informal phrase.
This is often said a little faster, and it sounds like s’t plaît.
For more information on when to abbreviate, see our guide to informal vs standard/formal French.
Please, you first!
- Je vous en prie!
- Je t’en prie!
In English, we sometimes say “please” to invite someone to begin eating or to go through a door first.
In French, you say je vous en prie or the more informal je t’en prie (if speaking to someone young or acquainted; admittedly, this is less common because it’s such a polite gesture and goes well with a formal manner of speaking).
You make a motion toward the plate of food or the open door and exclaim, “Je vous en prie!”
Another, more usual variant of “please, go ahead!”
” is either allez-y or vas-y! This is more straightforward, and it’s meant to be encouraging.
- Yes, please!
- Oui, merci!
- Oui, avec plaisir!
When someone gives you something, such as a cup of coffee, you should react with oui, merci! then yes, if you please! – though neither is incorrect.
The literal translation of oui, merci! “Yes, thank you!” “. The literal translation of avec plaisir is “with pleasure,” although the French version sounds less stuffy.
The distinction is subtle. The meaning of s’il vous plaît is more implorative; you use it to request something from someone.
- As you please
- Ce que vous voulez/ce que tu veux
- Comme vous voulez/comme tu veux
You might wish to say “do it however you please,” which means “whatever you like.”
You’d say “Faites comme vous voulez” or “Fais comme tu veux” in this scenario.
You can also use the above-mentioned alternate form. The expression ce que refers to a specific choice.
Please note/please find attached
Veuillez… This is a formal word, yet it’s how you put “Please” in an email when you want to say something like “please find attached.”
Note for French grammar nerds: veuillez is the vous imperative form of “volouir.” So it means “Wish!” “, almost as a command. (The tu form is never used.)
“Please find attached my check for one trillion euros,” for example, is veuillez trouver ci-joint un chèque d’un billion* d’euros. That will come in handy later. If you’re a billionaire and reading this site, we’d love to have you as a patron!
(Yes, “trillion” in English is “billion” in French… quite perplexing!)
Another relevant expression is veuillez trouver ci-dessous, which means “please locate below.”
- Oh, please!
- Oh, c’est bon!
- Non, mais arrête!
- Ça suffit!
Sometimes you just want someone to quit talking crap. There’s a lot of rubbish in the world… enough already! In this scenario, you say c’est bon! to say “please” in a way that signifies “enough.” That’s all there is to it! (Enough!) or, my personal preference, arrête!
How to say thank you in French
Of course, you’ll need to say thank you in French to round off the dialogue. There are numerous methods to convey gratitude to someone. Here are 5 ways to say “thank you” in French:
1. Merci (mekh*-see)
Merci is the most common way to express gratitude in French. You might hear de rien, which literally translates to “from nothing,” which means “you’re welcome.” You may also hear the phrase avec plaisir, which means “with pleasure.”
Surprisingly, merci is also regularly used in French-speaking countries in the MENA region, as well as in Farsi-speaking countries!
2. Merci infiniment (mekh-see an-fee-nee-man)
Merci can be combined with adverbs like beaucoup, mille fois, and infiniment to make expressions like merci beaucoup (thank you very much), merci bien (thanks a lot), merci mille fois (thank you a thousand times), and merci infiniment (thanks infinitely).
3. C’est très gentil à toi/vous (seh tkheh jan-tee a twa/voo)
“That’s extremely kind of you,” one may add in a more formal situation. It is commonly used after merci and can be used when someone does you a favor.
A valuable tip: when praising a senior or in a scenario when the polite form is required, use the formal equivalent of toi, vous, which is suitable to both men and women, to a single individual or to a group of people: “C’est très gentil à vous!”
4. Merci de tout coeur (mekh-see dah tu ker)
A passionate statement that means “thank you from the bottom of my heart.” It’s also used to show hope when combined with the word j’espère. For example, “I hope with all my heart that you will pass this exam,” means “I hope with all my heart that you will pass this exam.”
5. Cimer (see-mekh)
Use the opposite of merci, “cimer,” to spice up the usual merci. Caution: this is French slang for “thank you,” also known as “verlan,” and is usually used in conversations among younger people.
How to say you’re welcome in French
A heartfelt thank you is appropriate in every part of the world. Here’s how you react in French.
You’re probably aware that the most common informal and formal methods to say thank you in French are merci, merci beaucoup, and je vous remercie. But, depending on the social environment, what is the right approach to respond? In French, how do you express “welcome”?
If you’re an English speaker studying French, you might expect a simple statement like “you’re welcome” to be simply translated. There is, after all, only one way to state something in English.
However, expressing thanks in French is a little more nuanced than you may think. This is due, in large part, to the French language’s different degrees of formality. Indeed, there are various ways to say “welcome” in French. It all depends on the situation, who you’re speaking with, and how well you know them.
In this quick French lesson, we’ll go over the four most common examples – the only ones you’ll ever need in real life. As a result, you’ll understand what they mean, when to use them, and what the main differences between them are.
1. The most common “you’re welcome”: de rien
We’ll begin with the most frequent way to say “welcome” in French: “de rien.”
‘de rien’ might be used as an informal answer to someone who has thanked you. This expression is commonly used in a variety of situations throughout France.
The literal translation of ‘de rien’
While it is crucial not to overthink the literal translation of French words into English, it can help us recall how and when to use them. ‘De rien’ translates literally as ‘of naught.’ We’d probably say ‘no issue’ or ‘don’t worry about it’ in English.
It is most often used in response to a simple courtesy or a small act of kindness from a close friend, family member, or coworker.
A: Tu as un très bel appartement ! (“You have a really beautiful apartment!”)
B: C’est gentil, merci ! (“That’s kind, thank you!”)
A: De rien. (“You’re welcome.”)
2. The informal “you’re welcome”: je t’en prie
‘Je t’en prie’ is another informal way to respond to someone who has shown thanks to you, similar to ‘de rien,’ which is perhaps the most casual way to say you’re welcome in French.
It is particularly prevalent among close friends and family members. This form is most appropriate when you want to express a higher level of gratitude than ‘de rien,’ but with someone close to you and with whom you have a casual relationship.
The literal translation of ‘je t’en prie’
The literal translation of ‘je t’en prie’ is ‘I pray you it.’ Don’t look too deeply into it – it doesn’t translate as such to French speakers!
A: Manon, merci d’avoir payé mon loyer cette semaine ! (“Manon, thank you for paying my rent this week!”)
B: Je t’en prie ! (“You’re welcome!”)
3. The formal “you’re welcome”: je vous en prie
You’ll notice that this way of saying “you’re welcome” in French is remarkably similar to the previous one. In fact, the phrases are nearly identical. The sole difference is the personal pronoun. Instead of the informal you, ‘tu,’ we use its formal counterpart, ‘vous.’
This should make ‘je vous en prie’ more memorable. Just be cautious when using it with close pals. If you are in close company, using ‘vous’ will seem awkward. Similarly, if you’re speaking with someone you don’t know, always use this version of you’re welcome in French, regardless of their level of seniority.
The literal translation of ‘je vous en prie’
Again, the direct translation of “je vous en prie” is “I beseech you.” The crucial thing to remember here is not the actual translation, but when to use ‘vous’ rather than ‘tu’.
A: Souhaitez-vous un sac avec vos achats ? (“Would you like a bag with your shopping?”)
B: Oui, merci. (“Yes, please.”)
B: Je vous en prie. (“You’re welcome.”)
Our speakers are clearly in a shop in the example above. Because they don’t know each other, they use the formal ‘vous’.
4. The easiest to remember: pas de problème
When you’re first starting out learning French, the most logical thing to do is to use what you know. The term ‘problème’ in this French statement is similar to the English word ‘trouble’ and should be easy for you to master. The French grave accent on the ‘e’ should be avoided because it changes the pronunciation of the word.
The literal translation of ‘pas de problème’
We’re a touch sloppy here. While this is not an exact translation of “you’re welcome” in French, it is still used frequently in France when reacting to someone who has shown gratitude. As you might expect, the literal translation is “no issue.”
Furthermore, there is another way to phrase the same thing: ‘pas de soucis.’ These are interchangeable, however ‘pas de problème’ is unquestionably more prevalent in the context at hand.
A: Savez-vous quelle heure il est ? (“Do you know what time it is?”)
B: Non, desolé, aucune idée ! (“No, sorry. No idea!”)
A: Pas de problème. Merci. (“No problem. Thanks.”)
Bonus: Less common ways to say “you’re welcome” in French
If you want to spice things up, ‘il n’y a pas de quoi’ is another informal and very casual way of saying you’re welcome in French. This literally translates to “there is no what,” but an alternate translation would be “there is no reason (to thank me).” Because it is a colloquial term, it can be used in the same settings as ‘de rien’.
Furthermore, if you visit southern France and want to sound like a native, say ‘avec plaisir.’ It literally means “with pleasure,” but it is the French equivalent of “my pleasure.”
Learn more French
Now that you know how to say please in French, start a real conversation with a local! Do you, by the way, know how to say hello in French? How are you doing in French? Happy birthday in French! Hello in French? And how do you say thank you in French?
Are you still translating in your head? Do you want to learn to speak French properly? Learn more with us.