How to Make Polite Requests in French Using ‘Je Voudrais’


Last Updated: September 1, 2022

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One of the most useful French phrases that beginners and travelers should learn is “je voudrais...”. This little phrase can be used when you’re out in restaurants ordering food or drinks, or in everyday conversations when you need to to ask for something or make a little polite request.

Polite Requests in French

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use “Je voudrais... “ as well as try some examples.

The full lesson for this topic which includes several audio tracks, sample dialogues with transcription, plus writing and listening exercises can be found in the book My French Routine Volume 2. You can check it out below.

I. “Je voudrais…”: What It Means

“Je voudrais…” simply means, “I would like…” This will let the other person know what you would like to do, know, or have. We follow “Je voudrais” with a noun or infinitive.

II. How to Pronounce “Je voudrais…” (Video)

You can practice how to pronounce “je voudrais..." with this short video.

III. Let’s Make it More Polite with “S’il te plait/s’il vous plait”

“S’il te plait/s’il vous plait” is an expression that literally translates as “if it pleases you,” but it is generally used to mean “please” in French.

  • “S’il vous plait” is the extremely polite version and is used in formal situations or with people you do not know.
  • “S’il te plait” tends to be used in less formal situations and with people you know.

Just as in English, this expression should be added at the end of a request.

Like in the video example, we say:

Je voudrais un café, s’il vous plait.➝ I would like a coffee, please.

IV. Sample Dialogue

Let’s see how “je voudrais..” can be applied in a sample dialogue. The audio for this dialogue can be found in the book My French Routine Volume 2 which you can get here.

À la boulangerie (At the bakery)

Anne: Bonjour Monsieur. Je voudrais un pain au chocolat, s’il vous plait. (Hello, sir. I want chocolate bread, please.)

Le boulanger: Je suis désolé, je n’ai plus de pain au chocolat. Voulez-vous autres choses?  (I am sorry, I don’t have any chocolate bread left. Would you like something else?)

Anne: Avez-vous des croissants peut-être? (Do you have croissants, perhaps?)

Le boulanger: Oui, bien sûr. Combien de croissants voulez-vous? (Yes, of course. How many croissants do you want?)

Anne: J’en prends deux, s’il vous plait. Je voudrais aussi une baguette. (I’ll take two. I will also take a baguette, please.)

V. More Examples

Want some more examples? Well, here you go. .

Je voudrais un gâteau, s’il vous plaît. - I would like a cake, please.

Je voudrais acheter ce livre, s’il vous plaît.- I would like to buy this book, please.

Je voudrais réserver un ticket, s’il vous plaît. - I would like to book a ticket.

Je voudrais un thé, s’il vous plaît. - I would like a tea, please.

VI. Conclusion

Now you know how to use the common and very useful phrase “Je voudrais…” when making polite requests in French. You also learned how to use “s’il vous plaît” or “s’il te plait” after each request.

Do you want more short lessons like this? You can get more daily lessons together with exercises and lots of audio support with The Complete Beginner French Course. Check it out below. 

About the author 

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Instagram

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