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How Do You Say Thank You In French

Updated on March 11, 2019
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Robert writes informative articles about language and culture.

If you are visiting France, there are a few words and phrases you absolutely should learn. One of the most important phrases is how to say thank you in French.

Saying thank you shows good manners, and being polite will help you get along with the locals and break the ice. Saying thanks in French will also show the locals that you respect their culture, and they will appreciate the effort even if you are not fluent enough to carry on a conversation.

However, the way you say thank you will vary depending on the circumstances, such as the social setting, the person you are speaking to, and what you are grateful for. Knowing when to use a certain word is just as important to having the right vocabulary.

This is a brief tutorial that explains how to say thank you in French.



Source

As in English, French has a number of polite ways to express thanks. Which one you use will depend on exactly how much you mean it, how big a favor someone did for you, and whether you are speaking to a friend or a stranger.

Here is a basic list of ways to say thank you in French:

  • Merci - Thanks / Thank you
  • Merci beaucoup - Thank you very much / Thanks a lot
  • Merci bien - Thanks a lot
  • Mille mercis - A Thousand Thanks / Many Thanks
  • Merci mille fois - Thanks a thousand times
  • Merci infiniment - Thank you so much
  • Un grand merci - A big thank you
  • Je vous remercie - I thank you
  • C’est très gentil - That's very kind
  • Merci d'avance - Thanks in advance

Thanks in French

_________________________

Just like in English, French has many ways to say thank you, depending on how thankful you are.

Merci

Merci is the most versatile and basic way to say thank you in French.

You can use merci in all situations, whether formal or informal, and it is universally understood. You do not technically have to say anything else, but French people will often use different phrases to express varying degrees of thanks, or when they want to be more formal. So it is good to know how to say thank you in different ways; even if you don't use these expressions yourself, you will understand what someone means when they say them to you.

Merci Beaucoup

Merci beaucoup means "thank you very much." It builds on the basic thank you by expressing that you are really grateful.

As you learn the examples below, you will notice that many of the different ways to say thank you contain variations of merci. In fact, merci is the building block of many polite expressions of thanks, but each phrase conveys a different meaning even though they have this word in common.

Thanking your waiter will help ensure good service!
Thanking your waiter will help ensure good service! | Source

Merci Bien

Merci bien means "thanks a lot" and is used in the same way as its English equivalent. Just like in English, "thanks a lot" may express sincere thanks or can be used sarcastically. The tone of your voice and the circumstances in which you say this will convey what you mean.

For example, if the waiter brings you your coffee, and you can give him a sincere "merci bien." But if he spills your coffee all over you, saying "merci bien" will convey the exact opposite of thanks.

Mille Mercis

Mille mercis literally means "a thousand thanks" and is the equivalent of saying "many thanks." This is a fairly formal way to say thank you, and should be reserved for when the other person has done something really nice for you.

Merci Mille Fois

Merci mille fois literally means "thank you a thousand times" and is similar in meaning and usage to "mille merci." You would say this when you are really appreciative of what someone has done for you, especially in a formal conversation.

Merci infiniment

Merci infiniment literally means "infinite thanks" but is equivalent to saying "thank you so much" in English.

Un grand merci

Un grand merci means "a big thanks" or "a big thank you." You can use it in the same way and in the same situations as you would in English.

Je vous remercie

Je vous remercie means "I thank you" and is used when speaking to someone formally such as someone you do not know well, or to a group of people you want to thank collectively. You would modify the phrase slightly and say "Je te remercie" if you are thanking a friend, family member, or a child.

You can expand on the sentence by specifying the specific thing that you are grateful for.

Vive la France!
Vive la France! | Source

C’est très gentil.

C’est très gentil means "that's very kind." It doesn't mean thank you per se, but it conveys your gratitude and appreciation for what the other person has done. You can build on this phrase by saying "C'est gentil de ta part" - that’s kind of you (informal) or "c’est vraiment gentil de votre part" - that’s really kind of you (formal).

Merci d’avance

Merci d'avance means "thanks in advance" and is used to say thank you for what you expect the other person will do, or what you will hope they will do for you.

Source
French Word for Thank You
English Translation
When to Use it
Merci
Thanks / Thank you
Can be used in any situation
Merci Beaucoup
Thank you very much / Thanks a lot
When you are really grateful.
Merci bien
Thanks a lot
Can be used sincerely or sarcastically depending on tone of voice.
Mille mercis
A Thousand Thanks / Many Thanks
Formal
Merci mille fois
Thanks a thousand times
Formal
Merci infiniment
Thank you so much
For when you are really appreciative.
Un grand merci
A big thank you
As in English.
Je vous remercie
I thank you
Formal.
C’est très gentil
That's very kind
As in English.
Merci d'avance
Thanks in advance
When you hope someone will do something and give you reason to thank them.
It's important to say thank you!

Learning a new language should be fun. Don't be afraid to experiment and use these phrases in your conversation.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Robert P

Comments

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    • Guckenberger profile image

      Alexander James Guckenberger 

      10 months ago from Maryland, United States of America

      merci bien! :D

    • Shawindi Silva profile image

      Shawindi Silva 

      10 months ago from Sri lanka

      It's interesting !!

    • quotations profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert P 

      10 months ago from Canada

      Let me say thank you for your comment!

    • profile image

      RTalloni 

      10 months ago

      Expressing gratitude is a lovely thing, particularly in French! :)

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