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 + audio recording.
So let’s dig into the different ways of saying Thank you in French!
This article features audio recordings. Click the blue text next to the headphone to hear me say that word or sentence in French.
Note that when applicable, I used a modern spoken French pronunciation.
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!!). The “you” part is included, so watch out, we don’t say “merci tu” like I sometimes hear students say.
2 – Nuancing “Merci”
You could nuance saying thank you in French it this way:
- “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
- “Un grand merci”
A big thank you
- “Merci infiniment“
Thanks a million
As with saying hello in French, it’s always more polite to follow your thank you with “Monsieur, Madame or Mademoiselle” or the name of the person.
Madame or Mademoiselle ? If the difference is no longer used in administrative forms and letters, they both still are very much used when speaking.
3 – Thank You in French Slang
You may have heard of “verlan”, this French slang which consist in inverting the syllables of a word.
Well, to say thank you in French slang, we say: “cimer“. Verlan is not a new slang thing, but saying “cimer” is kind of new. It’s very used nowadays by the young generation but was not used when I was younger.
A word of caution about slang: if slang can sound natural, or hip and cool in the mouth of a native French speaker, it often sounds contrive or even weird in the mouth of a foreigner. Besides, it’s very easy to make a “faux pas” using slang in a situation that wouldn’t be appropriate.
For example, I’m 48 as I write this article. I can’t imagine saying “cimer” – it would sound ridiculous coming from me!
Another way to say thank you in French slang is “merki“. This is French pop culture: it comes from a French comedian, Elie Semoun, whose character Micheline (Mikeline) pronounced the s and ch like k. “Merki” was the title of his 2009 live show.
This would only make sense if you used it with a younger crowd, but if a foreigner was to drop a “merki” to the right audience, they’d probably be flabbergasted!
4 – My Thanks To You in French
If you wanted to direct your thanks in French to a specific person or group, you’d follow your “merci” with the preposition “à”
- “Merci à toi”
Thanks to you – informal
Note the difference of intend: “merci” is just ‘thank you’, but “merci à toi” is an emphasise. You insist that you are thanking this person.
I would use it in a dialogue such as:
– merci !
– Non ! merci à toi !
No, I’m the one thanking you!
- “Merci à vous”
Thanks to you – formal or plural – tu versus vous is explained in my article.
- “Merci à tous”
Thank you all
- “Merci à Pierre”
Thank you Pierre
5 – Thank You For Something
If you wanted to thank someone for something in French, you’d use the preposition “pour” – so it’s the same construction as in English
Merci pour les chocolats !
Thanks for the chocolates!
Yet, if what follows thank you is a French verb, then it would be the preposition “de”.
Merci de me répondre rapidement.
Thank you for answering me quickly.
6 – The French Verb to Thank
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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”.
It’s usually followed by the preposition “pour” – just like to thank is followed by for in English.
- 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.
- Remerciez-le/la de ma part
Thank him/her for me.
Using “remercier” is quite formal in French, much less common than using “merci”.
7 – 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.
8 – Being Grateful in French
To say you are grateful in French, the common 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
- Il est reconnaissant de cette belle opportunité
He is thankful for this nice opportunity
- 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 French audiobooks: a big thank-you to all!
9 – Other Ways to Express Your Gratitude in French
Here are other expressions to address you thanks in French
- Comme c’est gentil de votre part – how nice of you!
- Ça me fait tellement plaisir – it makes me so happy
- Je vous suis tellement reconnaissant(e) – I’m so grateful to you
- Comment vous remercier ? – how could I thank you?
- Je n’ai pas les mots pour vous dire merci – I don’t have the words to thank you
- Comment vous montrer ma reconnaissance ? – I could I show you how grateful I am?
- (Je vous adresse) tous mes remerciements – with all my thanks : if you write the first part, it’s very formal and a good way to end a formal letter in French
10 – 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.
You’ll also hear “il n’y a pas de quoi”. I would rather translate the intention into “don’t mention it”. You’d only say this when you really mean it was nothing at all.
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 in France.
11 – 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.
12 – No Thanks in French
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. You may like my article on how to accept and refuse in French politely.