We say “Thank you” every single day.
And we should say it more often! The evidence shows that giving thanks can make you happier and healthier.
Luckily, being thankful in French, and saying it politely and properly, is not difficult. If you know how.
I’ll show you.
Learning goals – this is what you’ll be able to do after watching this lesson:
Thank someone politely in French…
…Without mistakes, and according to your level!
C’est parti !
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You probably know this one already.
Merci = Thank you
It’s not such a simple word, actually. First of all, it can be feminine or masculine!
La merci = mercy
Example: Une guerre sans merci = a merciless war
Un merci = a “thank you”
Example: Il est parti sans un merci = He left without a “thank you”
More importantly, you can add more to “Merci” (= Thank you.)
For example, from “more informal” to “more formal”:
- Cimer → “verlan” slang for “Merci” (very informal, often sarcastic).
- Merci beaucoup → Thanks a lot
- Un grand merci → A great thanks
- Merci mille fois → Thank you a thousand times
- Mille merci → A thousand thanks
Be careful though: around a table during a meal, a “merci” with a sign of the hand (raising it a little or waving it to say “no”), actually means “non merci” (= No, thank you!).
It’s a polite way to not end up with one more filled plate of choucroute or glass of red wine 🙂
French people have many informal rules about meals. Learn more about French vocabulary around table manners and food in France, in the special course on Insider French.
2) Merci pour...
“Merci” is used to be thankful in general, or for something that just happened.
If you want to be more precise about your gratefulness, you can use instead this construction:
[Merci] pour [ce cadeau] (= [Thank you] for [this gift])
You can mix and match different ways of saying “Thank you,” and add precision to “this gift”!
Mille mercis pour cette belle écharpe.
A thousand thanks for this beautiful scarf.
Merci beaucoup pour cette merveilleuse boîte de chocolats.
Thanks a lot for this wonderful box of chocolates.
Un grand merci pour cette bûche absolument délicieuse.
A big thanks for this Christmas log cake, it was absolutely delicious. (formal)
By the way! You can learn more about saying “Thank You” for a great dinner in my lesson: How to thank your French host about the dinner and compliment the meal.
3) Beyond “merci”
Merci is nice, but it’s even better if you add a personal touch to it. How it makes you feel!
So you can say Merci, and then add for example:
- C’est très gentil = That’s very kind.
- Je suis très touché(e) = I’m touched
- Je suis très touché(e) par [ce cadeau] = I’m deeply moved by [this gift]
- Ça me fait très plaisir. = I’m delighted, it gives me great pleasure
You can also use these sentences to answer to a thoughtful attention, or a sincere compliment.
For this situation, you can click here to learn more: How to Thank Someone for a compliment in French.
Finally, when receiving a gift, you can also say Merci and tell the details of why you’re so thankful, how you appreciate that gift in particular.
J’aime beaucoup cette couleur.
I love this color.
Ces macarons sont délicieux.
These macaroons are delicious.
Cette chemise est parfaite.
This shirt is perfect.
J’adore cet auteur !
I love this writer!
Ce collier est magnifique.
This necklace is amazing.
4) You’re welcome
To go the extra mile, when you’re receiving a gift, you’re often giving one as well. And then they will say Merci to you!
What do you say then?
Well, it starts with:
De rien. (= You’re welcome.)
You can talk in one sentence about the story behind your choice of gift, to give it extra sentimental value:
Je savais que ça te/vous plairait. (= I knew you would like it.)
J’ai pensé à toi en le voyant. (= I saw it and it made me think about you)
And of course, you can use the occasion to wish them the relevant greeting:
Joyeux Noël → Merry Christmas
Bon anniversaire → Happy birthday. Etc.
You can find all common greetings in my lesson on French manners and politeness: Wishing Someone Something!
Want to save this for later ?
Your turn now – ET TOI ?
→ Dis merci pour quelque chose qui t’a plu cette année.
Share gratefulness, it’s good for you! You can answer in French in the comment section, I’d love to hear from you 🙂
For example, I would say:
“Merci pour cette année merveilleuse avec Comme une Française.
Je vous prépare plein de surprises pour l’année prochaine.”
“Thank you for this wonderful year with Comme une Française. I’m preparing you lots of surprises for the year to come!”
I’ll give you pointers for your mistakes and read all your replies on the blog!
→ If you enjoyed this lesson (and/or learned something new) – why not share this lesson with a francophile friend? You can talk about it afterwards! You’ll learn much more if you have social support from your friends 🙂
→ Double your Frenchness! Get my 10-day “Everyday French Crash Course” and discover more spoken French for free. Students love it! Start now and you’ll get Lesson 01 right in your inbox, straight away. Click here to get started
Allez, salut. Joyeux Noël et bonne année 🙂