10 ways to say “Oui” or “Yes” in French

Bonjour !

Ca va? La forme?

Sometimes, when I record Comme une Française TV episode, I’m frustrated because I realise my English vocabulary is very limited. It makes my speech weaker as I can’t express nuances.

A bit like trying to paint La Joconde with your fingers…

You know this feeling of being like a 5 year old when you speak?
In English, when asked a question, you can answer yes, no… And everything that’s in the middle : Yes I’d love to. Not really. No way…
But in French, you lack these shades.

ARGH. SO frustrating. I feel this in English so I imagine you do too, in French.
Do you?

Want to have your own toolbox of « oui »?
Want to be say « Yes indeed » and « Oh yeah » in French?
Want to agree politely with your boss in French and enthusiastically to a friend?

Click to watch « 10 kinds of Oui »:

What about you?
What nuances do you miss when you speak French?
Do you also feel like a 5 year old? What kind of vocabulary do you want to master in French?

Tell me in the comments how it went. Share your story so we can discuss in the comment area below the video.

If you are not yet a member, click to join the community on Comme une Française.com and leave your email to receive my weekly video tips to master unwritten society rules and speak Real-life French. It’s free!


Join the conversation!

  • Merci beaucoup Geraldine! J’ai passé trois mois en Alsace et tout le temps j’ai parlé comme un enfant de cinq ans!!! Je aimerais votre aide avant! Robyn

  • Très bien Geraldine; j’ aime bien votre maquillage et le lecon étais très bien aussi: Je suis heureuse trouver votre website ‘Commeunefrancaise’ J’en réjouis étudier avec vous:
    merci beaucoup mon amie nouveau:

  • I often hear something like ‘bah ouai’ or ‘beh ouai’ which I guess means something like ‘yeah, sure’. I live in Pays du Loire where the French is meant to amongst the most pure in France!

  • Thanks! These tips are helping to improve my confidence. I personally prefer the exclamation or interjection “Mais Oui” to mean “Sure!” or “Of course!” in place of “Bien sûr.”

    However, I sense that depending on the tone in which it is said, it could carry a sense of the “irritated YES!”

    Qu’est-ce que tu dit de ça, Géraldine?

  • Bonjour Geraldine ! Je vous remercie pour cette leçon ! Alors, ma rèponse à votre question «Tu ne veux pas de tarte ?», c’est «Si, merci !».

  • Just watched the really interesting ‘Yes in French’. Saying ‘yeah yeah’ in English is usually a brush off way of giving the expected yes response to a question but conveying a disinterest in doing it.. Maybe not even doing it. “Will you take the rubbish out later?”, “Yeah yeah”. Does this translate in the same way with ‘Ouias Ouias’ or ‘Oui oui’? Just curious 😀

    • Hi Charlotte, I have the same problem and I think the best solution is to find a french conversation group in your area. check out Next Door or even Meet up to find one near you. 🙂

  • Thx a lot. Yes, I agree with Thomas below that your very useful summing up has an audio problem – Only one of my headphones caught your excellent messages. Bonne Noel

  • Merci Géraldine. Lamentablement, le audio ne funcione pas ni dans votre blog ni dans You Tube. S’il vous plaît laissez-moi savoir s’il y a un moyen d’écouter cette

  • Bonjour Géraldine, I’m so happy I joined. I love your delivery (style). Your passion for your subject clearly comes through. I look forward to more of your cool and useful French.

  • Ok so I am precocious and feel 4.5 years old. The speed of conversation leaves me “in the dust,” an English idiom that expresse the sense that everyone else is racing ahead. Ok I know learning isn’t a competition but it still feels like incompetence.

    • Bonjour Sam,

      It’s normal to struggle, please don’t worry about that. Your French will improve step by step, at your own pace.
      I recommend you set yourself a goal. Knowing why you want to learn French and what you want to achieve with it is fundamental.

  • Thank you for the video; it was incredibly helpful. When it comes to speaking French, I lack confidence so listening to your pronunciation in these videos is a big plus!

  • This episode was my first experience with your website. Je am very very beginner at apprendre française. I vraiment liked your style. As a turkish origin person the pronounciation of french afraids me. Mais i am decided i will learn your beatiful language.
    Your video was very helpful for me as a starting point. I mean “volontiers”. Thank you Geraldine.

  • This video is so helpful to expand one’s vocabulary. Merci!

    Sometimes I wish I could say more about how my day went or how so feel about it. I say « bien » or « ca va » or « ca va bien » but I’m not sure that covers it. – Lauri

  • When I can’t express myself, I start using a lot of hand gestures to illustrate what I cannot say. Its comical, I guess.

  • Bonne nuit Géraldine! Merci pour votre léçon. Je veux parler Francais comme ma grande-mère et je veux conner les dits des vie “everyday”.

  • Salut! J’mapelle Chad! I am still new to learning French. As an American I think Quois de neuf? translated as “What’s up?” Lacks the ability to tease (joke about) the idiom itself. For example, someone says “What’s up?” The proper responses are “What’s up?”, “Nothing much?” “I’m just chilling/relaxing” etc. A slightly more silly response is “The Sky” “The Ceiling” “That way!”(pointing upward!”, “The opposite of down.” etc. Saying “Quois de neuf” seems quite rote/conventional, but then again I’m sure there are some American English expressions that seem rote/conventional to a native French Speaker. I find in most languages idiomatic expressions contain the most nuanced variables.

    I definitely feel like a toddler with French, but that is to be expected when learning a new language.

    Another American English example is “kicked the bucket” (I.e. “to die.”) [[I think in Britain it’s can]]

    Person A: Did you hear that Michael Jackson kicked the bucket?
    Person B: Oh yeah? How far did he kick it?
    Person A: Six feet, six feet under (six feet is the most common legal regulation depth for burial plots in the USA.)

    Are there any French expressions you can tease the expression itself in a similar manner?

    Note: “Kicked the bucket.” is colloquial idomatic slang and certainly not appropriate in every situation (e.g Don’t use at a funeral. Just don’t. It’s not just bad taste..it’s just terrible and could be offensive.) This expression should only be used when the situation is relaxed, casual, jovial and totally informal.

    Are there any French idomatic expressions that you can joke with the expression itself?

  • Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you so much, However I amm
    having ifficulties with yourr RSS. I don’t know why I cannot join it.

    Is there anybody having the same RSS problems?
    Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond?

  • C’est ma vie de française ! (which I am sure is wrong!!)
    I always feel, with my limited vocabulary, that people are waiting for me to expand upon my “oui”…. This vocabulary lesson was very
    helpful!!! One step to age 6.

  • I feel like 3 year old child.. I used to learn french, long time ago but now i only remember some words. Unfortunately not grammar. Now i started to learn it again, i try to do it every day. My boyfriend is french, we live in Kraków in Poland. And in one month we r going for holidays to his home place in Lorraine. Im extremely nervous about it 😀 I want say something to his parents and friends who dont speak english.
    I try to learn french as i did with english. By watching movies with french subtitles, listening french songs. I hope it will help me 😀
    I also spend a lot of time on your website, i love it !
    Thank you Geraldine !

  • Yes I feel like a, not so smart 5-year old, a lot of the time!
    Now that I am in France, I realize that all my listening to French radio has helped. I read magazines and understand a lot of what is written. But yes! The nuances in speaking French are hard to get.
    I try to speak French every day.
    In time I know it will help but right now I do feel like a oui!woman often! When I read about the other options, I do understand some of the nuances but using them is quite different!
    You are putting your finger on a obvious problem area Geraldine.
    You know because you were there!
    I do get some consolation out of that. Thanks!

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