Introducing yourself in French

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, 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?‎

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 Preston - I live in Preston.‎

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 Angleterre - I live in England. (England 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.)‎

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).‎

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:‎

MasculineFeminineEnglish
britanniquebritanniqueBritish
anglaisanglaiseEnglish
écossaisécossaiseScottish
galloisgalloiseWelsh
irlandaisirlandaiseIrish
espagnolespagnoleSpanish
canadiencanadienneCanadian
indienindienneIndian
américainaméricaineAmerican
françaisfrançaiseFrench
polonaispolonaisePolish
pakistanaispakistanaisePakistani
russerusseRussian

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.

Where next?

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