Saying ‘thank you’ in French is easy: one word: “merci” (mair see). But it’s not the only way. What about saying “you’re welcome?” or expressing your gratitude in French?
Here are different ways of expressing your gratitude in French.
1 – Thank You in French
The most common word to say ‘thank you’ or simply ‘thanks’ in French is “merci”.
It’s pronounced like “mair see” (watch out, no “mur” sound!!)
- “Merci” is ‘thank you’. The “you” part is included, so we don’t say “merci tu”.
- “Merci beaucoup” – ‘thank you very much’: the “very” is included, you cannot say “merci très beaucoup”.
- “Mille mercis” or “merci mille fois” – kind of “thanks a million” but it’s only a thousand in French!
- “Merci du fond du coeur” – thank you from the bottom of my heart
Another way to say ‘thank you’ is to use the verb “remercier”.
Note that the verb “remercier” has a stem in “i”, so the final sound will often be a vowel, just like the verb “étudier”.
- Je te remercie pour les chocolats – I thank you for the chocolates.
- Je vous remercie pour ce délicieux repas. I thank you for this delicious meal.
- Je voulais vous remercier pour votre patience – I wanted to thank you for your patience.
Using “remercier” is quite formal in French, much less common than using “merci”.
2 – Thanks in French
When talking about the thanks, the noun, you’d use the noun “le/les remerciement(s)”, usually used in the plural.
- Vous avez les remerciements de Pierre – you have Pierre’s thanks.
- Je voudrais lui adresser mes remerciements – I would like to send him/her my thanks.
3 – Being Grateful in French
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To say you are grateful, the expression is “être reconnaissant(e)”
The preposition used after it is a bit tricky:
– “pour” / “de” + something
– “envers” + someone (sometimes “à” but I don’t like how it sounds!! It may be outdated now)
- Je suis reconnaissante pour la vie que j’ai en France – I’m thankful for the life I have in France
- Olivier et moi sommes reconnaissants envers tous les gens qui ont acheté nos livres audio : un grand merci à tous !
Olivier and I are thankful to all the people how bought our audiobooks: a big thank-you to all!
4 – How To Say “You are Welcome” in French
To answer ‘thank you’ in French, we’d use:
- Je t’en prie (pronounced ‘shtan pree’) if you are using “tu”
- Je vous en prie (pronounced “shvoo zan pree”) if you are using “vous”
Note that although very very common “de rien” (it’s nothing) is not considered proper by some French people and will be frown upon in upper social classes.
Watch out! “Bienvenu” means you are welcome as in “welcome to my house” “bienvenu chez moi”, or “je vous souhaite la bienvenue” – I wish you welcome… However it’s never used as an answer to thank you.
5 – Thank you Notes are not Common in France
It’s not very common in France to write “une carte de remerciement”. I mean, it’s very polite, but it’s not like in the US or England where thank you cards are a huge market.
Feel free to send out a thank you note – it’s in no way a “faux pas”, just don’t expect your French friends to reciprocate. Here is more about writing letters in French.
6 – “Merci” and “Non merci”
If you say “merci” with a smile, it implies that you accept whatever is being offered to you. If you wanted to reinforce that you accept, you could say: “oui. Merci.”
However, you could say “non merci”, and shake your head “no”. Or even just say “merci” with a hand gesture, showing your palm to the person in front of you in a kind of stop gesture: this would mean you refuse.