Greetings and Introductions

Greeting people and asking how they are

There are a few different ways to greet people in French, depending on the time of ‎day.

Here are some examples of what to say during the day, and in the evening:

FrenchEnglish
saluthi
bonjourhello / good day
bonsoirgood evening
bonne nuitgood night
au revoirgoodbye
à bientôtsee you soon

To ask someone how they are, or to say please and thank you, you can say the following:

  • Ça va ? - How are you?‎

To respond, you can say:‎

  • Oui, ça va - Yes, I’m fine.‎
  • Ça va (très) bien, merci - I’m (very) well, thank you.‎
  • Pas mal - Not bad.‎
  • Bof - So so.
  • Ça va (très) mal - I’m feeling (very) bad.‎
  • Et toi ? - And you?‎
  • Et vous? - And you? (talking to an adult)
  • S’il te plaît - Please
  • S’il vous plaît - Please (talking to an adult)
  • Merci (beaucoup) - Thank you (very much)

Asking for and giving your name and age

To ask someone’s name in French, say Comment tu t’appelles ? (literally: How do you call ‎yourself?)‎

To tell someone your name, say je m’appelle and then your name.‎

To ask someone how old they are, you ask Tu as quel âge ? (literally: What age do you ‎have?)‎

To tell someone your age, say j’ai (I have) and then the number of years.‎

  • J’ai onze ans - I am 11 years old (literal meaning I have 11 years.)‎

Saying where you live and asking others where they live

To ask someone where they live, say Tu habites où?‎

To tell someone which town/city you live in, say j’habite à.‎

  • J’habite à Edimbourg - I live in Edinburgh. (Only capital cities change their spellings)‎

To tell someone the country you live in, say j’habite en… for feminine countries, j’habite ‎au… for masculine countries and j’habite aux… for plural countries.‎

  • J’habite en Écosse - I live in Scotland. (Scotland is a feminine country in ‎French.)‎
  • J’habite au Pays de Galles - I live in Wales. (Wales is a masculine country in ‎French.)‎
  • J’habite aux États Unis - I live in the USA. (The USA is a plural country in French.)‎
J’habite en Écosse - I live in Scotland

Asking for and giving nationalities

To ask someone what their nationality is, say Tu es de quelle nationalité?‎

To tell someone your nationality in French, you say je suis and then give your nationality.‎

  • Je suis français – I am French (for a boy).‎
  • Je suis française – I am French (for a girl).‎

  • Je suis écossais – I am Scottish (for a boy).‎

  • Je suis écossaise – I am Scottish (for a girl).‎

Nationalities in French often change depending on whether you are a boy or a girl. ‎Usually, you add an ‘e’ to the nationality to make it feminine.‎

Nationalities don’t need capital letters in French, except at the start of sentences.‎

Here are some nationalities with their masculine and feminine forms:‎

Nationalities - vocabulary list
document

If you want to say you are half one nationality and half another, you can use the word ‎moitié to mean half:‎

  • Je suis moitié écossais(e), moitié polonais(e) - I’m half Scottish, half Polish.‎

Saying please and thank you

To be polite in French, say merci for thank you, or merci beaucoup for thank you very much.‎

To say please, use s’il vous plaît if you are talking to more than one person, or in a formal ‎situation, such as ordering food in a café. Choose s’il te plaît when talking to one person in ‎an informal situation, for example when talking to a friend or family member.‎

Quiz

Listen to the conversation below and find out how much you know about introducing yourself in French with this short quiz.