Wondering how to say thank you in French? You’re on the right track because in a polite society like France, a simple merci goes a long way.
But what about the times when merci just wouldn’t suffice? Here in this article, we’ll take a look at the different ways to say thank you in French.
For starters, let’s review first this list of French words related to saying thanks in French.
|un merci||a thank you|
|un remerciement||the act of thanking|
|Les Remerciements||The Thanks|
|Reconnaissant (e) de||thankful; grateful|
|Avec reconnaissance||thankfully; with gratefulness|
|Soulagé (e)||thankful; relieved|
|Avec soulagement||thankfully; with a sense of relief|
|Action de grâce (use in Canada)||thanksgiving / the act of giving thanks|
Merci is the standard way of expressing gratitude in French. You can use it in all types of situations whether formal or informal, regardless of what it is you’re thanking someone for.
The word itself has a long history: in the Roman times, merci meant “wages” and later on the word evolved to mean “a favor” or “a mercy”. Eventually, the word took on the meaning of thanks that we know of today.
Merci has plenty of variations (which we’ll tackle in a little while) but if you’re thanking many people at once, you can say:
There will be times when merci just isn’t enough. When you’ve been treated to a gift or kindness so grand that saying a simple thanks would actually seem short of an insult, these are the right words to say:
|Merci beaucoup||thank you very much|
|mille mercis||a thousand thanks|
|merci mille fois||thank you so much|
|Mille fois merci||thanks a thousand times|
|Merci infiniment||thank you so much|
|Un grand merci||big thanks|
|C'est gentil de ta part||that’s kind of you (informal)|
|c’est vraiment gentil de votre part||that’s really kind of you (formal)|
|je vous remercie du fond du coeur||I thank you from the bottom of my heart|
The ways of thanking mentioned above may be used in formal situations. But if you really wish to be more formal in expressing your thanks, you can say:
The informal way to say this is “je te remercie” when you’re in tu terms with the person. See also: The Ultimate Guide to Tu vs. Vous.
Another formal way to say thanks is:
To extend your gratitude for something that will happen soon, here’s how to say “thanks in advance” in French.
This is the most common and the most natural way to say it.
The more formal way to thank someone in advance.
This is also a formal way of thanking someone.
This one can be used either in formal or informal situations.
Finally, another formal thanks in advance. You can use this at the end of your letter or email.
To be more specific about what you are thanking someone for, any of the French thank you phrases mentioned above will be followed by the prepositions de or pour. But which one should you use?
|Je vous remercie de m’avoir aidé.||I thank you for helping me.|
|Merci de faire la vaiselle.||Thank you for doing the dishes.|
|Je vous remercie pour votre cadeau.||Thank you for your gift.|
|Merci pour le hamburger !||Thanks for the hamburger!|
Let’s say someone borrowed your car and didn’t fill the tank. Or your roommate left her mess on your apartment floor right after you cleaned it.
Here’s how to express that in French.
While merci bien may be used to say a genuine thanks, with a different tone and context, it can be used as a sarcastic thanks.
Let’s see some examples.
The scenario: Your girlfriend cheated on you. After you found out about it, she says sorry and wants you to go back to the way you were before. A fresh start, perhaps. But you’d rather move on with your life. You can say:
Tout recommencer depuis le début ? Merci bien ! J’ai autre chose à faire. (Start all over again? Thanks a lot! I have better things to do.)
Just like the sarcastic thanks, you can also use merci to refuse something. This is similar to “thanks, but no thanks” in English.
Thank you cards (une carte de remerciement) are not as common in France as in other countries. Though is not impolite to send one after being on the receiving end of an extra special act, but it is not usual for French people to do so. So don’t expect the same from the French!
In French letters, this is usually the way to say thanks towards the end of your letter:
In formal thank you letters, you can also say:
see also: How to Write a Letter in French
Of course, this lesson won’t be complete if I don’t tell you how to respond to a thank you.
When someone says thanks to you, here are the different gracious ways to reply.
|merci à toi / à vous||Thank YOU (like saying, “I should be the one thanking you”)|
|C’est moi||It’s me (who should be thanking you)|
|c'est moi qui vous remercie||It’s me who thanks you|
|Je vous en prie||you’re welcome (formal)|
|Je t’en prie||you’re welcome (informal)|
|De rien||It’s nothing|
|(Il n'y a) pas de quoi||don’t mention it|
|Avec plaisir||With pleasure|
Regardless of wherever you are in the world, saying thank you is an integral part of being polite. With this guide, you should be able to say thanks in French in the most gracious way possible.
Which way of saying thanks in French is your favorite? Share it with everyone in the comments section!
For more, you can also read these articles:
You can also check out French Phrasebook by Talk in French. It has all the phrases you need to travel confidently in France. Plus, a menu guide and a section on French cultural differences, too!
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 Twitter and Google +