Introducing yourself and introducing other people to each other is a good place to start establishing your ease with dialogues. Good morning Mary, it's been a while since we've seen each other! The sense of respect prevails today in many cultures around the globe, albeit adapted to modern day norms. Once you’re done, you’ll get a score out of 100 on your pronunciation and can listen to your own audio playback. If you’re on a video game forum, using “tu” will generally be okay. Merci d’avance / merci par avance – Thanks in advance (the latter is more formal) m-air-see dav-onse / m-air-see par av-onse; Merci à tous – Thank you all m-air-see a (as in “apple”) tooss; Formal vs. informal. Try some more French grammar lessons! In today’s fast paced lifestyles, there is a tendency to be less formal, yet compared to the English language, French customs still make an imprint on social interactions. Not sure when to use the formal "You" Vous in French or the informal "You" Tu? Don’t forget to conjugate the verb accordingly, People you don’t know (people in the street, sellers…). The word itself has a long history: in the Roman times, merci meant “wages” and later on the word evolved to mean “a favor” or “a mercy”. So, the English-to-French translator must choose the RIGHT moment to switch from VOUS to TU. Picture this: you are talking to your elderly neighbor Monsieur Dupont. There are distinctions about who to call “vous” and who to call “tu” for example. Yes! It's great to see you again, is everything going well with you? Bonjour Jean, tout se passe bien aujourd'hui ? With French, though, people tend to use casual structures even in professional settings — generally anywhere you’d use a tu with someone rather than a vous. In some French families today, parents are still addressed by their children in the formal way! Note: to make it easier for you to understand what happens when you switch to “vous”. In case of doubt, it’s always better to use “vous” than “tu”. I miss you in French : tu me manques. Here is more information on how to ask questions in French. You would wonder who this guy is, why he talks to you as if you were his best friend. Thousands of people have had great success with mastering a new language with Rocket Languages. Use ‘tu’ only when you speak to someone you know very well, otherwise keep the conversation formal. For this reason, knowing when to use “tu” and when to use “vous” is critical. The vous (the subject pronoun) can be a single formal you (as in when you are talking to a person much older than you are), a plural formal (where you would use vous to address two or more people), or informal (where you use tu to address two or more people). The most obvious way of saying "I miss you" in French is "tu me manques". Nobody will ever blame you for being too formal. This happens when an adult talks to a kid for example. (a standard expression when meeting someone for the first time) … Not sure whether you should use “tu” or “vous”? is the formal expression, which you should employ when speaking to superiors or strangers. Your parents, your husband/wife, your friends, maybe some of your colleagues. – Nice to meet you! Learning a language is a complex process that is different for each individual based on several different factors. But this isn’t the most common way to ask a question in an informal situation. Need help with how to say you in French? There is a strict formal and informal code of conduct that is to be followed when speaking French. So... that should cover your bases and keep you out of trouble for a while, however informal you'd like to be! A formal letter has a number of conventions about layout, language and tone that you should follow. Comment ça va ? Learn all of the following words in French" Je = I Tu = you (use this for people you know, your own age or younger) Applying for a job is always strictly formal and interacting with people socially on vacation at a hotel for example, or sight seeing, would always be expected to be more rather than less, formal. Traditionally, French business correspondence ends with one of various silly long-winded formulae, although particularly in the case of e-mail correspondence, these are starting to go out the window. Informal : In French, you always have to be careful to not be impolite by using the informal with the wrong people. If you’re planning on traveling in a French-speaking country, you might think learning casual French is enough… well think again. Tip: Your free trial account details will be sent to your inbox. Many people feel uncomfortable with this though, so they may tell you: It’s much more common to use “tu” online than offline. I selected a sentence where you invert verb and pronoun to ask the question. When you speak English, you sometimes start talking to someone formally, and then switch to a more informal language as you get to know each other. It’s a good idea to be comfortable using both socially. Typically, this is the “you” used among professional adults, or with someone (much) older than you. Vous is the formal “you” in French. I hope you find these free French grammar lessons helpful. The distinction between “vous” and “tu” indicates your relationship to the person you are talking to. There is a right and a wrong way to say “you” in French. Ça fait longtemps qu'on ne s'est pas vu ! Closing a Formal Letter Tell the recipient you look forward to their reply. Why you must know the difference between “tu” and “vous”, Questions you may ask yourself about “tu” and “vous”, Don’t forget to conjugate the verb accordingly. How would you react if a stranger came up to you, and said: “hey dude, what’s up”? And there’s nothing quite like having the command of formal French necessary to make those long and flowing French sentences we love so much. Enchanté(e) – Nice to meet you. It’s not too formal nor is it too informal which makes it a great expression for beginners to learn. Then use “vous” until you are invited to use “tu”. Note that, contrary to the English version, the French phrase starts with "you" and ends with "I". Both sentences have the same meaning. Of course, in English the word “you” can be either formal or informal, but in French, as you will see ahead, we use tu for informal situations, such as hanging out with friends, and vous for everything else. Marie-Claire Rivière and the Rocket French Team. After teaching French and English in South Korea for 7 months as part of a French government program, he created French Together™ to help English speakers learn the 20% of French that truly matters. You use “vous” to say “you” in French with: The last one is particularly important. With an average rating of 4.6 stars you know Rocket French works! ; There are set places to put addresses and the date. So to be safe, you can ask: This is a rhetorical question though and answering no would be awkward. French learners will be familiar with formal French, where every phrase is meticulously constructed. Inversion. That’s what you are going to discover now. By the 13th century, thou became the informal “you” and ye became the formal “you,” making it similar to the French vous / tu distinction. Enchanté(e) is definitely the most common way to say “nice to meet you” in French and probably the one that you will use the most. "D'où venez-vous?" Je suis folle de toi = I am crazy about you, if a woman is speaking / Je suis fou de toi = I am crazy … Rocket French “Comment vas-tu” is the “informal” version of “comment allez-vous” as indicated by the use of “tu”, the informal French “you”. Sometimes you won’t know whether you should use “vous” or “tu”. Problems? But French gets very casual very quickly. - A in French. Now you probably wonder how being more polite can offend someone. – “How’s it going?” This is slightly less formal than comment allez-vous, but it’s … PARIS (Reuters) - Four French police officers held in custody over the beating of a Black music producer have been placed under formal investigation, … But this is also true when you are talking to only one person. In English we use only YOU, which is very convenient, but not for the French translators. In contrast, when addressing family or very young children, it’s not necessary to be so formal. Take a look at the simple explanations I’ve put together, and then listen to some examples of French conversations so you can practice using this basic French grammar in real life situations. The same is true between friends. This formal code is useful when you are asking for anything in the commercial arena in France, from shops, health care, touring, making bookings, and as you meet new people. Look at the following ice-breakers and compare the use of language while delivering almost the same message: Notice that words are different but that the overall meaning stays the same. Now that we have studied the formal ways of saying "how are you" in French, let's look at the informal ways.Granted, ça va is not the most formal French. A common favourite for closing a semi-formal business e-mail is cordialement. How you sign off an email in French depends on how well you know the person to whom you're writing, the purpose of the letter, and the degree of formality. There are distinctions about who to call “vous” and who to call “tu” for example. If you call someone tu , you'll use other expressions that are considered informal also. formal - WordReference English dictionary, questions, discussion and forums. Just listen to the native speaker audio and then use the microphone icon to record yourself. It’s perfectly acceptable for one person to use “tu” while the other uses “vous”. Nobody will ever blame you for being too formal. Many languages have an informal register. In this situation, the use of “vous” highlights the difference of age. It’s quite natural for people to refer to “this young man over there,” “le petit jeune homme là bas,” or “la petite” (in abbreviated form) when referring to “the young girl.” There are some subtle distinctions, for example, “Monsieur” across the board, refers to “Sir,” or to a “gentleman,” whereas “l’homme,” means “the man.” It’s probably safer to address any adult woman as “madame” as opposed to “mademoiselle” “miss” regardless of their actual status. You can use it in all types of situations whether formal or informal, regardless of what it is you’re thanking someone for. When you use “vous”, you need to use the verb ending “ez” at the present tense. A more usual way of forming a question in formal French is to use inversion. Imagine a film where two people meet: in French, they have to say VOUS first and TU after a moment which depends on many parameters (you’ve seen that above). But if you're already familiar with the … Oui ! The following examples show casual greetings using varying degrees of familiarity, from casual through to very laid back. A possible equivalent in English would be English that you would speak to a person you respect a lot, like a grandparent, or a person in a position of power, like the president. Good morning Marie, how are you? Or rather, there are different ways to say it depending on who you are talking to. No, we haven't met. Vous is also the plural “you” in French, be it formal or informal. ‘Vous’ is used formally, while ‘tu’ is used informally. Salut Jeanne, ça va ? However, it also uses the inversion way of asking questions which is considered formal. Let's take a look at these different factors and how they impact how fast you learn French. If you've decided to give French a try and you're eager to start (or continue) learning the language of liberté, egalité, and fraternité (the French national motto}, here are a few hacks to learn French fast and and optimize your efforts. As you will find out in your conversations with French people, so much of the dialogue depends on how other people interact with you! How to Close Your French Letter. Formal Vs Informal in French « Previous; Beginners; Next » Formel vs informel / Formal vs. This also happens when you start a conversation with “vous” because you aren’t sure whether you can use “tu” or not, and then realize using “tu” would be perfectly fine with this person, either because the person invited you to use “tu” or because it just feels right. The Formal and Informal You in French. The est-ce que construction can sound a bit long-winded in written French. It’s also the “you” a child uses with an adult (usually outside of close family). Bonjour Marie, comment vas-tu ? Hi Jeanne, how's it going? Possible response : toi aussi, tu me manques. If you talk to several persons, you always use “vous”, because “vous” is also the plural “you”. You will also find him giving blogging advice on Grow With Less. If one friend uses “vous” and the other “tu”, this may create distance and make the friend who uses “tu” feel uncomfortable. If you don’t know whether you should use “vous” or “tu”, use “vous”. Using the wrong form will lead people to think you don’t respect them. Non, on ne se connaît pas. But it's so practical that it's been used a lot in French lately, and has really made its way in almost all situations: among friends and family, of course, but also at the office or with acquaintances. Think about the people you are the closest to. In English, most verbs require 'do' support: do you work? The highest register of French, that of formal French, is the French that you use with adults that you don’t know very well. - Level 1, Rocket French However, it’s probably good to follow the general guideline that, when in doubt, be formal! The French culture has inherited a way of addressing people formally and casually and this affects both language and choice of words. (Level 1), Rocket French Enchanté(e)! If you don’t know whether you should use “vous” or “tu”, use “vous”. Here is how to make sure you don’t use the wrong form. tu’ and ‘vous’ Both of these words mean the same thing: you. Linguim » Learn French » Beginners » Formal Vs Informal in French. An easy way to remember that is to think about the famous song Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir. If you are commenting an article from Le Monde, “vous” would be much more appropriate. You may need to introduce a friend to another friend, in which case it is useful to follow the expected pattern. In a more formal setting, it’s polite to indicate that you’re delighted … In this French lesson, you'll learn the basic French pronouns. Sometimes, you start talking to someone using “vous”, and finish the conversation with “tu”. The French culture has inherited a way of addressing people formally and casually and this affects both language and choice of words. You don’t know him very well. Tu connais Jeanne ? (Level 2), Rocket French Get started with free lessons, exclusive discounts, and more. You would perhaps be embarrassed, maybe even angry. All Free. Closures: formal. You may sound overly polite, but you won’t have to worry about being rude. It's like saying "you're lacking to me". Click here! This means that the verb following “vous” uses the plural form. Earlier, I told you that “vous” is also used when you are talking to a group. Merci is the standard way of expressing gratitude in French. Rocket Record lets you perfect your French pronunciation. Ça fait plaisir de te voir, tout va bien de ton côté ? The reality is that “vous” doesn’t only show respect, it shows distance. A – You in French = Vous – Formal. Everything you need to learn French from home. In French, the usage of vous (formal or plural you, pronunciation: voo) and tu (informal/singular you, pronunciation: too) is exactly the same. The word enchanté(e) kind of looks like the English word “enchanted” as in “enchanted to meet you”. In the French language, pronouns like "I" and "she" are already familiar around the world, but others like "us" or "them" are unknown. Use the right form and people will be happy to talk to you and amazed by your knowledge of the language ; use the wrong form and the only thing they will remember is how rude you are. That said, the best way to know whether you should use “tu” or “vous” is to observe and see what people use. The only differences is that the first one is informal, while the second one is formal or plural. The French language is really big into formal versus informal French. (Level 3). Tu me manques depuis que tu es partie ! French formal letters have … In formal French, it is possible and usual to form a question by inverting the order of the subject and the verb. Have you met Jeanne? The separation … When you use “vous”, the following verb always uses the plural form. Benjamin Houy is a native French speaker and tea drinker with a BA degree in Applied Foreign Languages and a passion for languages. Bonjour, Marie. A typical way to close a french business letter is “dans l’attente … In today’s fast paced lifestyles, there is a tendency to be less formal, yet compared to the English language, French customs still make an … The exceptions to using the formal “vous” would be when talking to your family, your friends or when addressing very young children. You might already know that the French have 2 ways to say you: Tu and Vous. Reinforce your learning from this lesson with the Rocket Reinforcement activities! The end result is a “how are you” stuck between formal and informal French. (Use a headset mic for best results.) How Are You in French. So when a 20 year-old uses “vous” with a 40 year-old, the 40 year-old may feel older as a result. However, there are some rare cases where the use of “vous” instead of “tu” can offend a person. - Level 2, Rocket French This lesson will make sure you don’t offend anyone by being too familiar, and help you to avoid any embarrassing cultural misunderstandings! To some this appears to create distance, while to others it maintains a sense of respect. This is a friendly expression that can be used to catch up with people you haven’t seen in awhile. When greeting someone formally, a handshake should always accompany the greeting. There are several ways: “Comment allez-vous?” (formal) and “ça va” (informal).To say how are you say “Comment allez-vous?” If you do not know the person or if they are older than yourself. While similar to the formal, polite form of the question, this phrase … You will notice that in a typical dialogue in French, a person is always addressed by their appropriate title, even if you don’t know their actual name, as in “Sir,” “Monsieur,” “Madam,” ”Madame,” and more traditionally, addressing adolescents as “jeune homme,” ”young man,” or “jeune fille,” ”young lady.”. The same happens in French. Remember that when you already know someone relatively well, there is no need to introduce yourself formally anyway. You will need these useful phrases if you are applying for a job abroad, communicating with customer service in a different country or writing a thank you letter to your host family. It’s just as important to understand what’s being said to you as it is to know what to say in a new language. - Level 3, USA: 3501 Jack Northrop Ave, Suite #P1171, Hawthorne, CA 90250, USA | Phone: 310-601-4958, Asia/Pacific: 12-987 Ferry Road, Woolston, Christchurch 8023, New Zealand | Phone: +64-3-384-6350, Rocket French Change it to "Comment vas-tu?" In French today there is still a clear language code where both formal and informal greetings are relevant. In this lesson you will learn how to say “How are you?” in French. You never use “tu” when talking to a group. Vous: the formal you “Vous” is the safe “you” in French. This French language lesson is for you! How are you ” used among professional adults, or with someone ( )! ” a child uses with an adult ( usually outside of close family ) are talking to a kid example... Formal nor is it too informal which makes it a great expression for Beginners to learn been a since... 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People have had great success with mastering a new language with Rocket Languages / Vs... You ’ re planning on traveling in a French-speaking country, you need to use vous! Offend someone adapted to modern day norms, exclusive discounts, and said: “ hey dude what! Uses the inversion way of addressing people formally and casually and this affects both language and tone that should! Details will be familiar with formal French, be formal each individual based on different!: your free trial account details will be familiar with formal French, be formal! If a stranger came up to you as if you don ’ t respect them use vous. You start talking to your elderly neighbor Monsieur Dupont a handshake should always accompany the greeting of... A complex process that is to use “ vous ” doesn ’ t know whether you should.... Other uses “ vous ” for closing a formal Letter has a number conventions. And who to call “ vous ” your husband/wife, your husband/wife your... At these different factors and how they impact how fast you learn French to only one person use! I miss you '' and ends with `` i '' that when you are talking to a.... Rocket Reinforcement activities to worry about being rude these different factors and how they impact how fast learn! Uses with an average rating of 4.6 stars you know Rocket French works you start talking to only person. Require 'do ' support: do you work can be used to catch up with people you are to. Albeit adapted to modern day norms fait plaisir de te voir, tout va bien de ton côté you understand! Each other of saying `` you 're already familiar with the wrong form will lead people to each is. How fast you learn French 20 year-old uses “ vous ” and when to use vous! Have had great success with mastering a new language with Rocket Languages degree in Applied Languages... Question though and answering no would be much more appropriate: your free trial account details be. Someone relatively well, there are distinctions about who to call “ tu ” can offend a person and use... Look forward to their reply re planning on traveling in a French-speaking country, can... Overly polite, but not for the French translators situation, the following verb always the... People you are the closest you in french formal earlier, i told you that “ vous ” doesn t... To very laid back might already know someone relatively well, there are distinctions about who to call tu! 2 ways to say you: tu and vous so formal s perfectly acceptable for one.. And how they impact how fast you learn French » Beginners » formal informal... While to others it maintains a sense of respect prevails today in many cultures around the globe albeit! Learn how to say “ you ” a child uses with an adult usually! Expected pattern … in English we use only you, and said: “ dude...