How To Say Hello In French

Written byAmélie Pinon

How do you say hello in French?

It's quite straightforward but there are some nuances you should be aware of.

In this lesson, I'm going to teach you the correct way to say hello in French. Read on.

Hello in French

The most common way to say "hello" in French is bonjour.

It literally means "good day", and can be used at any time of the day until evening (see below for the evening greeting).

If you've already said hello (saying it a second time)

If you've ever greeted someone and then ran into them again later, you might be wondering how to say hello again without being too repetitive.

Well, in French, a common way to say "hello again" is by using the word rebonjour.

Rebonjour is simply a combination of re- (meaning "again") and bonjour (meaning "hello"). So, by saying rebonjour, you're essentially saying "hello again".

Saying hello to more than one person

Have you ever been in a room full of people and wondered how to greet everyone without having to say hello to each person individually?

Well, in France, you can just use bonjour, or you can say bonjour à tous ("hello all").

Respectful greetings

To be extra polite, you can add Madame if you're greeting a lady, Monsieur for a man, or Mademoiselle if you're greeting a younger woman.

If you're on a first-name basis with the person, you can simply say Bonjour Amélie. However, if you're in a more formal setting, it's appropriate to use Bonjour monsieur Charles instead.

It's also worth noting that when a politician addresses the nation, they typically start their speech with Bonjour Mesdames, bonjour Messieurs... to address both men and women respectfully.

Don't forget to say hello

In France, it's really important to greet people properly before starting a conversation with them.

Tourists often skip bonjour and ask something like comment ça va? (how are you?), but it's not common and may come across as a bit rude.

Whether you decide to use the word bonjour or not, it's always a good idea to take the time to greet people properly. In France, it's considered impolite to ask a question or start a conversation without first greeting the other person.

Is there a way to 'hi' in French?

The closest thing to 'hi' in French is the word salut.

However, it's important to note that salut doesn't mean "hi" in French - it's a word that's only used among peers.

In English-speaking countries, we often say "hi" to our friends, as well as to strangers at the grocery store or when greeting the postman. Not in France, however.

It's important to stick with bonjour when speaking to strangers in a polite and respectful way.

Saying hello at night

If you're in France and you want to say "hello" in the evening, the word you should use is bonsoir.

It's made up of two parts: bon which means "good", and soir which means "evening".

Just like with bonjour, it's considered more polite to use an additional word after bonsoir.

It's worth noting that there isn't a clear agreement among the French about when exactly to start saying bonsoir. Some people might start using it as early as 6 PM, while others might wait until it's completely dark outside.

How to say hello on the phone in French

When you're answering the phone in French, there's a specific word you should use to greet the person on the other end.

That word is allô.

To answer the phone in French, you simply pick up the phone and say allô with a rising voice.

Note that allô is only used on the phone.

Slang ways to say hello in French

Here are a few important slang terms for hello in French:

  • Coucou: A cute, endearing way of saying "hello" or "hi" in French. It's only used among close friends or family members.
  • Yo: Just like in English, "yo" is a slang way of saying "hello" in French. It's street talk and extremely impolite toward strangers.
  • Ça boume?: "What's up?" or "how's it going?" in French. Like yo, this is impolite to use with strangers.
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How To Say Hello In French
In this lesson, I'm going to teach you the correct way to say hello in French.
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