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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.
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 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 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.
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 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 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.
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 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.
|French Word for Thank You||English Translation||When to Use it|
Thanks / Thank you
Can be used in any situation
Thank you very much / Thanks a lot
When you are really grateful.
Thanks a lot
Can be used sincerely or sarcastically depending on tone of voice.
A Thousand Thanks / Many Thanks
Merci mille fois
Thanks a thousand times
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
C’est très gentil
That's very kind
As in English.
Thanks in advance
When you hope someone will do something and give you reason to thank them.
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
Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on March 12, 2019:
merci bien! :D
Shawindi Silva from Sri lanka on March 12, 2019:
It's interesting !!
Robert P (author) from Canada on March 11, 2019:
Let me say thank you for your comment!
RTalloni on March 11, 2019:
Expressing gratitude is a lovely thing, particularly in French! :)