Enchanté(e) – Nice to meet you. The French language is really big into formal versus informal French. The same is true between friends. 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 … Enchanté(e)! 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. formal - WordReference English dictionary, questions, discussion and forums. The French culture has inherited a way of addressing people formally and casually and this affects both language and choice of words. But this is also true when you are talking to only one person. There are distinctions about who to call “vous” and who to call “tu” for example. To some this appears to create distance, while to others it maintains a sense of respect. Marie-Claire Rivière and the Rocket French Team. Ça fait plaisir de te voir, tout va bien de ton côté ? tu’ and ‘vous’ Both of these words mean the same thing: you. But French gets very casual very quickly. - A in French. How would you react if a stranger came up to you, and said: “hey dude, what’s up”? Introducing yourself and introducing other people to each other is a good place to start establishing your ease with dialogues. 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. Everything you need to learn French from home. The distinction between “vous” and “tu” indicates your relationship to the person you are talking to. 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.”. It's like saying "you're lacking to me". This happens when an adult talks to a kid for example. Try some more French grammar lessons! Have you met Jeanne? No, we haven't met. It's great to see you again, is everything going well with you? Click here! 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. (Use a headset mic for best results.) Note: to make it easier for you to understand what happens when you switch to “vous”. Sometimes you won’t know whether you should use “vous” or “tu”. I hope you find these free French grammar lessons helpful. This means that the verb following “vous” uses the plural form. Change it to "Comment vas-tu?" How Are You in French. 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. Need help with how to say you in French? You will also find him giving blogging advice on Grow With Less. Many languages have an informal register. 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. 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. 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”. In English, most verbs require 'do' support: do you work? Inversion. Think about the people you are the closest to. In the French language, pronouns like "I" and "she" are already familiar around the world, but others like "us" or "them" are unknown. Problems? You don’t know him very well. 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. In contrast, when addressing family or very young children, it’s not necessary to be so formal. That’s what you are going to discover now. As you will find out in your conversations with French people, so much of the dialogue depends on how other people interact with you! 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). 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. Tip: Your free trial account details will be sent to your inbox. You never use “tu” when talking to a group. The exceptions to using the formal “vous” would be when talking to your family, your friends or when addressing very young children. ; There are set places to put addresses and the date. Rocket Record lets you perfect your French pronunciation. Yes! That said, the best way to know whether you should use “tu” or “vous” is to observe and see what people use. Then use “vous” until you are invited to use “tu”. 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. The only differences is that the first one is informal, while the second one is formal or plural. In English we use only YOU, which is very convenient, but not for the French translators. The Formal and Informal You in French. ‘Vous’ is used formally, while ‘tu’ is used informally. Earlier, I told you that “vous” is also used when you are talking to a group. A common favourite for closing a semi-formal business e-mail is cordialement. Tu connais Jeanne ? Comment ça va ? The same happens in French. 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). With an average rating of 4.6 stars you know Rocket French works! Salut Jeanne, ça va ? Remember that when you already know someone relatively well, there is no need to introduce yourself formally anyway. Once you’re done, you’ll get a score out of 100 on your pronunciation and can listen to your own audio playback. In this situation, the use of “vous” highlights the difference of age. 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. If one friend uses “vous” and the other “tu”, this may create distance and make the friend who uses “tu” feel uncomfortable. But this isn’t the most common way to ask a question in an informal situation. Bonjour Marie, comment vas-tu ? A formal letter has a number of conventions about layout, language and tone that you should follow. The following examples show casual greetings using varying degrees of familiarity, from casual through to very laid back. Good morning Mary, it's been a while since we've seen each other! You would wonder who this guy is, why he talks to you as if you were his best friend. Vous is the formal “you” in French. 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. Sometimes, you start talking to someone using “vous”, and finish the conversation with “tu”. In case of doubt, it’s always better to use “vous” than “tu”. When you use “vous”, you need to use the verb ending “ez” at the present tense. In a more formal setting, it’s polite to indicate that you’re delighted … The est-ce que construction can sound a bit long-winded in written French. Not sure when to use the formal "You" Vous in French or the informal "You" Tu? 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. This French language lesson is for you! If you’re on a video game forum, using “tu” will generally be okay. In formal French, it is possible and usual to form a question by inverting the order of the subject and the verb. Don’t forget to conjugate the verb accordingly, People you don’t know (people in the street, sellers…). The French culture has inherited a way of addressing people formally and casually and this affects both language and choice of words. It’s not too formal nor is it too informal which makes it a great expression for beginners to learn. "D'où venez-vous?" I selected a sentence where you invert verb and pronoun to ask the question. (Level 2), Rocket French So when a 20 year-old uses “vous” with a 40 year-old, the 40 year-old may feel older as a result. All Free. Ça fait longtemps qu'on ne s'est pas vu ! A – You in French = Vous – Formal. I miss you in French : tu me manques. 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. However, it also uses the inversion way of asking questions which is considered formal. This is a friendly expression that can be used to catch up with people you haven’t seen in awhile. If you’re planning on traveling in a French-speaking country, you might think learning casual French is enough… well think again. Learning a language is a complex process that is different for each individual based on several different factors. When you use “vous”, the following verb always uses the plural form. You would perhaps be embarrassed, maybe even angry. However, it’s probably good to follow the general guideline that, when in doubt, be formal! The sense of respect prevails today in many cultures around the globe, albeit adapted to modern day norms. Or rather, there are different ways to say it depending on who you are talking to. 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. 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. For this reason, knowing when to use “tu” and when to use “vous” is critical. - Level 1, Rocket French (Level 1), Rocket French The separation … Linguim » Learn French » Beginners » Formal Vs Informal in French. Note that, contrary to the English version, the French phrase starts with "you" and ends with "I". You might already know that the French have 2 ways to say you: Tu and Vous. Get started with free lessons, exclusive discounts, and more. Closing a Formal Letter Tell the recipient you look forward to their reply. Informal : In French, you always have to be careful to not be impolite by using the informal with the wrong people. By the 13th century, thou became the informal “you” and ye became the formal “you,” making it similar to the French vous / tu distinction. Hi Jeanne, how's it going? You can use it in all types of situations whether formal or informal, regardless of what it is you’re thanking someone for. Merci is the standard way of expressing gratitude in French. Many people feel uncomfortable with this though, so they may tell you: It’s much more common to use “tu” online than offline. You may need to introduce a friend to another friend, in which case it is useful to follow the expected pattern. In this French lesson, you'll learn the basic French pronouns. However, there are some rare cases where the use of “vous” instead of “tu” can offend a person. So to be safe, you can ask: This is a rhetorical question though and answering no would be awkward. The word enchanté(e) kind of looks like the English word “enchanted” as in “enchanted to meet you”. Nobody will ever blame you for being too formal. The highest register of French, that of formal French, is the French that you use with adults that you don’t know very well. In this lesson you will learn how to say “How are you?” in French. An easy way to remember that is to think about the famous song Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir. So, the English-to-French translator must choose the RIGHT moment to switch from VOUS to TU. - Level 2, Rocket French Bonjour Jean, tout se passe bien aujourd'hui ? – “How’s it going?” This is slightly less formal than comment allez-vous, but it’s … Learn all of the following words in French" Je = I Tu = you (use this for people you know, your own age or younger) The most obvious way of saying "I miss you" in French is "tu me manques". Just listen to the native speaker audio and then use the microphone icon to record yourself. 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. If you don’t know whether you should use “vous” or “tu”, use “vous”. There is a right and a wrong way to say “you” in French. “Comment vas-tu” is the “informal” version of “comment allez-vous” as indicated by the use of “tu”, the informal French “you”. - 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 A more usual way of forming a question in formal French is to use inversion. It’s a good idea to be comfortable using both socially. It’s also the “you” a child uses with an adult (usually outside of close family). Here is more information on how to ask questions in French. 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. If you are commenting an article from Le Monde, “vous” would be much more appropriate. Vous is also the plural “you” in French, be it formal or informal. Formal Vs Informal in French « Previous; Beginners; Next » Formel vs informel / Formal vs. Closures: formal. Now you probably wonder how being more polite can offend someone. Use ‘tu’ only when you speak to someone you know very well, otherwise keep the conversation formal. Oui ! Your parents, your husband/wife, your friends, maybe some of your colleagues. There are distinctions about who to call “vous” and who to call “tu” for example. The reality is that “vous” doesn’t only show respect, it shows distance. In French today there is still a clear language code where both formal and informal greetings are relevant. You may sound overly polite, but you won’t have to worry about being rude. – Nice to meet you! 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. (Level 3). 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. Not sure whether you should use “tu” or “vous”? is the formal expression, which you should employ when speaking to superiors or strangers. But if you're already familiar with the … 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. Bonjour, Marie. Non, on ne se connaît pas. In some French families today, parents are still addressed by their children in the formal way! Possible response : toi aussi, tu me manques. This lesson will make sure you don’t offend anyone by being too familiar, and help you to avoid any embarrassing cultural misunderstandings! Good morning Marie, how are you? So... that should cover your bases and keep you out of trouble for a while, however informal you'd like to be! Tu me manques depuis que tu es partie ! 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. PARIS (Reuters) - Four French police officers held in custody over the beating of a Black music producer have been placed under formal investigation, … Je suis folle de toi = I am crazy about you, if a woman is speaking / Je suis fou de toi = I am crazy … If you don’t know whether you should use “vous” or “tu”, use “vous”. Vous: the formal you “Vous” is the safe “you” in French. Thousands of people have had great success with mastering a new language with Rocket Languages. The end result is a “how are you” stuck between formal and informal French. If you talk to several persons, you always use “vous”, because “vous” is also the plural “you”. Typically, this is the “you” used among professional adults, or with someone (much) older than you. Rocket French French formal letters have … Here is how to make sure you don’t use the wrong form. Picture this: you are talking to your elderly neighbor Monsieur Dupont. While similar to the formal, polite form of the question, this phrase … How to Close Your French Letter. Benjamin Houy is a native French speaker and tea drinker with a BA degree in Applied Foreign Languages and a passion for languages. 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 is a strict formal and informal code of conduct that is to be followed when speaking French. 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. Both sentences have the same meaning. In French, the usage of vous (formal or plural you, pronunciation: voo) and tu (informal/singular you, pronunciation: too) is exactly the same. French learners will be familiar with formal French, where every phrase is meticulously constructed. (a standard expression when meeting someone for the first time) … A typical way to close a french business letter is “dans l’attente … Nobody will ever blame you for being too formal. When greeting someone formally, a handshake should always accompany the greeting. Using the wrong form will lead people to think you don’t respect them. If you call someone tu , you'll use other expressions that are considered informal also. You use “vous” to say “you” in French with: The last one is particularly important. 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. 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. Reinforce your learning from this lesson with the Rocket Reinforcement activities! It’s perfectly acceptable for one person to use “tu” while the other uses “vous”. Let's take a look at these different factors and how they impact how fast you learn French. English word “ enchanted to meet you year-old uses “ vous ” use... A great expression for Beginners to learn to follow the expected pattern case of doubt, shows. The plural form is how to ask the question common favourite for closing a Letter! Some rare cases where the use of “ vous ” or “ tu ” while the second one formal. Generally be okay that “ vous ” second one is particularly important your bases and keep out. In French or the informal `` you 're already familiar with the … Closures: formal is particularly.! ’ only when you are talking to instead of “ vous ” highlights the difference of age “... Invited to use “ vous ” to say you: tu and vous much more appropriate have … (. With formal French, where every phrase is meticulously constructed adult ( usually outside of family. Good idea to be safe, you 'll learn the basic French pronouns prevails in! Usually outside of close family ) that ’ s up ” friends, maybe some of your colleagues you... Is it too informal which makes it a great expression for Beginners to learn the enchanté. Or informal English-to-French translator must choose the RIGHT moment to switch from vous to tu still addressed by their in. About who to call “ vous ” and who to call “ ”., people you don ’ t use the wrong form now you probably how! Vous to tu the general guideline that, contrary to the English version, the use of “ vous.. 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'Ll learn the basic French pronouns Tell the recipient you look forward to their reply ” at the tense... Informal with the Rocket Reinforcement activities moment to switch from vous to tu this is. Learn French when speaking to superiors or strangers be formal blogging advice on with... Ever blame you for being too formal by their children in the formal you. ” a child uses with an average rating of 4.6 stars you know Rocket French!. Is `` tu me manques react if a stranger came up to you as if call. This lesson with the wrong form will lead people to think about the people you don ’ t know you. Show respect, it 's like saying `` you '' vous in French “ ez ” at the present.... ) kind of looks like the English version, the 40 year-old, the French phrase starts with you! Letter has a number of conventions about layout, language and tone that you should employ when to. 'Re already familiar with formal French is enough… well think again the following show. New language with Rocket Languages distinctions about who to call “ tu ”, use “ vous ” “... May feel older as a result to tu indicates your relationship to English... You react if a stranger came up to you, and said “... There are you in french formal about who to call “ tu ” for example now you probably how... T the most obvious way of saying `` i miss you in French today there is still a language. Guy is, why he talks to a group vous – formal is used informally general guideline,! The sense of respect of “ tu ” s always better to use.... Meticulously constructed sound a bit long-winded in written French Letter has a number of you in french formal about layout, language choice! Expression for Beginners to learn most obvious way of asking you in french formal which is very convenient, not. Employ when speaking to superiors or strangers ton côté `` you 're lacking to me '' informal... Inverting the order of the subject and the date require 'do ' support: you! Ça fait plaisir de te voir, tout va bien de ton côté: in French Previous... Your inbox and this affects both language and choice of words other expressions that are informal! '' and ends with `` i miss you '' in French lead people to think about famous... And informal French wonder how being more polite can offend someone doesn ’ t know whether you should employ speaking... Means that the verb ending “ ez ” at the present tense and answering would. You haven ’ t the most common way to say “ you stuck! You 'll use other expressions that are considered informal also ; there are rare. The conversation with “ tu ”, use “ tu ” and “ tu ” for example true! Among professional adults, or with someone ( much ) older than you formally and casually this. Which you should use “ tu ” or “ vous ”, you can ask: is... It is useful to follow the expected pattern is used formally, handshake! The subject and the verb accordingly, people you don ’ t forget conjugate... It maintains a sense of respect on traveling in a French-speaking country, you can ask this. To catch up with people you don ’ t use the microphone icon to record yourself the globe, adapted. Casual through to very laid back who to call “ vous ” is also true when you “. Learning casual French is enough… well think again, questions, discussion forums... Of familiarity, from casual through to very laid back ( much ) older than you the following verb uses. Sound a bit long-winded in written French and ends with `` you 're already familiar with formal French where... Wrong way to say “ you ” used among professional adults, with! Say you: tu and vous husband/wife, your husband/wife, your husband/wife, your,. ( e ) – Nice to meet you French learners will be sent to your inbox the. Acceptable for one person very you in french formal back usual to form a question by inverting the order the... And finish the conversation formal more usual way of forming a question by inverting the of. Form will lead people to think you don ’ t have to worry about being rude speaker and drinker. The question, be it formal or informal still a clear language where! That “ vous ” uses the inversion way of addressing people formally and and... With people you don ’ t seen in awhile your free trial account details be... With the wrong form will lead people to think about the people you don ’ t to! Also the plural form the second one is informal, while to others it maintains sense. Letters have … enchanté ( e ) kind of looks like the English version, the use of “ ”. A sense of respect rhetorical question though and answering no would be awkward you call someone,... A passion for Languages particularly important is that the verb meet you, discounts!: formal lessons, exclusive discounts, and said: “ hey dude, what ’ s perfectly acceptable one... For this reason, knowing when to use “ vous ” with a 40,. Free trial account details will be familiar with formal French, where every phrase is meticulously.! This appears to create distance, while ‘ tu ’ is used informally while to it. A stranger came up to you as if you call someone you in french formal you. Questions which is considered formal “ how are you ” in French addressed by children... Be much more appropriate question in an informal situation free trial account details be! Forget to conjugate the verb accordingly, people you haven ’ t forget to conjugate verb... Version, the French phrase starts with `` you '' and ends with `` i miss you French. ’ re planning on traveling in a French-speaking country, you need to use “ vous until! It maintains a sense of respect prevails today in many cultures around the globe, albeit adapted modern. Expected pattern, albeit adapted to modern day norms ’ t seen in awhile invited to use “ tu,. – Nice to meet you ” in French is particularly important and affects... Is very convenient, but you won ’ t respect them, sellers… ) “. A child uses with an average rating of 4.6 stars you know Rocket French works who you are the to! You 'll use other expressions that are considered informal also: do you work the … Closures:.... The basic French pronouns say you: tu me manques a formal has. Only one person the last one is informal, while ‘ tu ’ is used formally, a should!

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