Apprendre la langue Française (Part Cinq) – les salutations

Bonjour either means good morning, hello, or good afternoon.

Bonsoir is used when you greet someone in the evening, starting around 6PM.

Salut is when you greet informally at any time of the day.

You can start exchanging pleasantries by asking the person…
in a formal manner, Comment allez-vous? (How are you?);
in an informal manner, Ça va? (literal meaning, Is it going?) or Comment ça va? (Is it going well?) or Ça va bien? (How’s it going?).

You can reply by saying…
in a formal manner, Je vais bien (I’m fine) or Bien, merci (Fine, thanks) or Bien, et vous? (Fine, and you?)
in an informal manner, Ça va (Fine) or Ça va bien (I’m doing well) or Pas mal (Not bad) or Bien, et toi? (Fine, and you?) or Je vais bien (I’m fine)

When it’s time to say goodbye, Au revoir (formal) or Salut (informal) are used. There are also different ways, depending on what you mean. We have:

À bientôt or À tout à l’heure (See you soon)
À plus or À plus tard (See you later)
À demain (See you tomorrow)
À la prochaine (Until next time)

Bonne journée (Have a nice day)
Bon après-midi (Have a nice afternoon)
Bonne soirée (Have a nice evening)
Bonne nuit (Good night)

Adieu (Farewell)

In greeting someone with respect, you may use monsieurmademoiselle, or madame together with the person’s name.

For more French greetings, as well as tips on how to use them properly, click here.


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