In French, learning to say “thank you” is one of the most important things you will ever do. Understanding the culture of your target language will give you a rich look into the hearts of its people. And as you might have heard, French people love someone with good manners. This post will show you what is regarded as polite, formal, and informal in French.
What is the kindest thing someone has ever done for you? Perhaps someone hosted you in their home while you were searching for an apartment. Or someone got you the most generous gift for your last birthday. Or you are just thinking about a very good friend who supported you through a difficult time. How did you respond? I bet you showed heartfelt appreciation.
Gratitude is key in our interactions with others. It reminds us how blessed we are and lets the receiving part know how well we value their gesture. In fact, merci (thank you) might be one of the French words you first learned. The only French lots of people know is the lovely word merci. But when you say merci every time- when someone picks your key on the floor, when someone opens the door for you, when they pay for your ticket- it loses its effect.
At certain times, you just want to express a deeper form of gratitude. Or maybe you just want to use a word or expression from your impressive vocabulary. In this post, I will share the 10 best ways to say “thank you”.
>>Also Read: Most Popular and Offensive French Swear Words
Merci (Thank you)
Yes, everyone knows what merci is, but it is a good place to start. The great news is that merci is a very flexible word that can be used in formal and informal contexts. As a matter of fact, you can’t possibly do any wrong using merci. However, as words in your French vocabulary increase, you will come to appreciate the language’s richness.
Merci is used to say thank you to family members, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Short and simple, but it doesn’t often sound friendly. The word may sometimes sound slightly cold, short, and ungenuine in some contexts. Don’t worry; there are alternatives to use just to ensure you aren’t pissing anyone off inadvertently. Add monsieur, madame, or mademoiselle when you say merci. This wraps your greeting in politeness and respect.
Merci Beaucoup (Thank you very much)
Like merci, this is flexible and appropriate in most contexts. Merci beaucoup communicates a deeper level of gratitude when you are with an interlocutor. Essentially, you decide which one to use between merci and merci beaucoup off how you feel about someone’s gesture toward you. You can say merci to a person who bought you a tasty baguette and merci beaucoup to a person who takes you out to a fancy restaurant. Beaucoup means ‘a lot’ in French, and you can also use it to come across as genuine, friendly, and engaging.
Merci Mille Fois (a thousand thanks)
The strongest version of merci is merci mille fois, which literally means thank you a thousand times. It expresses profound gratitude and appreciation for what someone has done. Coming from my previous examples, if you say merci to someone who got you a tasty baguette and merci beaucoup to someone who takes you to a fancy restaurant, then you might say merci mille to someone who prepares a three-course dinner from scratch for you. Merci infinitement is another alternative expression. It has the same meaning as merci mille fois, and it loosely means thank you infinitely.
Merci à Tous (Thank You All)
Merci à to us is used to thank a group of people. It’s simple to use. Perhaps you celebrated your birthday on your vacation in France, and a group of local friends gave you a gift. You might not know whose idea is it or who bought the item, but you could just appreciate everyone with merci à tous. Also, you might even find yourself speaking in front of a crowd while you need to thank them. You should do just fine with Thank you all in French.
Je Te/Vous Remercie (I Thank You)
Je te/Vous is more personal and instead of saying merci, wherein ‘I’ and ‘you’ are suggested, you identify both parties involved (the person giving thanks and the person being thanked). Do not forget to say te when in a casual circumstance like with a relative or friend, and vous in a formal occasion like with a senior colleague or a professor.
Taking things up a notch, you might want to explain why you are thanking someone, ensure that you add pour which means ‘for’ and a noun or de and a verb. For example, one might say:
- Je te remercie pour ton gentil cadeau (I thank you for your kind gift.)
- Je vous remercie de partager ca avec moi (I thank you for sharing that with me.)
Also, Je te remercie – I thank you is informal while Je vous remercie- I thank you is formal.
Avec Tous Mes Remerciements (With All My Thanks)
In informal contexts, another great way of saying thank you is using Avec tous mes remerciements, meaning with all my thanks. This phrase is often used as a closing remark when you want to sign off a newsletter, email, or business letter. If you have subscribed to a couple of French websites or French company’s newsletters, you might have come across Avec tous mes remerciements.
Avec Mes Remerciements Anticipes (Thank You in Advance)
Just like avec tous mes remerciements, this one is formal. The difference is that in the context, we are thanking the receiver for something they are going to do. Avec mes remerciements anticipes would be perfect in the email examples I wrote in the last point. It is fitting to use it when requesting things like answers to questions, answers to inquiries, etc. Also, we could say merci d’anticipe (thank you in advance), which has the exact meaning but can be used formally and informally.
C’est Vraiment Gentil de Votre Part (That’s Very Kind of You)
To impress your French interlocutor, surprise them with c’est vraiment gentil de votre part when they help you with something. The expression can serve as a compliment too. It implies how well you appreciate their gestures, actions, and efforts. There are many creative ways to say thank you, and this is one of them.
Merci du Fond du Coeur (Thank You From the Bottom of my Heart)
Another unique way to say thank you and show appreciation in French is by using merci du fond du Coeur. This translates to thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you like, you can use merci before adding Je Vous remercie to produce another fine expression. Je vous remercie du fond du Coeur means I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is also perfect if you are writing a formal French letter.
Un Grand Merci (A Big Thank You)
Un grand merci is as effective as thanks a million because it adds an extra layer to one’s gratitude. A common way of using the remark is to add ‘to’ after it. For example:
- Un grand merci a tous- a big thank you to all.
You might have discovered by now that all the words and remarks used to say thank you are the same or almost the same in French. The biggest differences are the weight of meaning, contexts, and exaggeration. So now that you have found out about these special ways to express appreciation in French, don’t be shy to use any which fits the situation.