Tu Me Manques: How to say “I miss you” in French

The expression “Tu me manques” is one of the most famous French expressions. People tend to think it’s quite a romantic or touching way to say that you miss someone. Find out why in today’s lesson.

Manquer is a tricky French verb. It can even be a little intimidating to use!

In French, instead of “I miss you,” we say “Tu me manques.” Literally, “you are missing from me.”

But why? How? Let’s take some time together and figure it all out.

Learning goals: This is what you’ll be able to do after watching this lesson

  • Beginner: Become familiar with the French verb “manquer
  • Beyond Beginner: Master the use of the French verb “manquer

Bonjour c’est Géraldine.
Bienvenue sur Comme une Française. C’est parti !

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1) Manquer

Manquer means “to miss.” That verb has many meanings, though: to fail, to lack, to be absent…

Today, however, we’ll only cover the single meaning of “manquer” as in “Tu me manques” (= I miss you). I.e., the pain of nostalgia for a person, a place or a thing that’s not there.

Next time, we’ll cover the other French meanings (and synonyms) for manquer. There are plenty of them, and they’re quite elegant!

2) The construction of “manquer”

Manquer is a scary verb because its construction is all backwards!

For instance: “I miss you” becomes Tu me manques.

The subject becomes complement, the complement becomes the subject!

This might feel confusing at first, but that’s all there is to it. You just have to think in reverse!

A common trick you might find online is to think about “manquer” in French as the verb “to lack” (or “to miss from”) instead of “to miss.”

When you think of it this way, we have: “You are lacking from me.” (or “You are missing from me.”)

And that translates more literally to “Tu me manques.”

The full construction is: Manquer à [quelqu’un] (the person with nostalgia is the complement after “à”, and the person who’s not there is the subject.)

For example, “Pierre misses Jeanne.” becomes: Jeanne manque à Pierre.

And now, what about phrases with pronouns?

Well, the subject stays the same: it’s the person who’s not here. It can be Tu”, “Vous,” “Il,” “Elle”…

When the complement (the person who feels nostalgia) is a pronoun, it comes between the subject and the verb, and looks like: me” / “te” / “lui” / “nous” / “vous” / “leur

Or for a simple example, with the singular “you”, you can follow the process:
1. I miss you
2. [“Tu manques à moi”] (“manquer à quelqu’un”, subject and complement are reversed) That sentence is still incorrect: the complement subject pronoun (moi) should be turned into the proper pronoun (me).
3. Tu me manques.

3) Let’s try!

You miss me (singular “you”) → [Je manque à toi →] Je te manque
You miss her (singular “you”) → [Elle manque à toi →] Elle te manque
You miss her (plural “you”) → [Elle manque à vous →] Elle vous manque

How to turn “subject pronouns” into “complement pronouns” : full table

Je (= I) → me (= me)
Tu (singular you) → te (= singular you)
Il (= he) → lui (= him)
Elle (= she) → lui (= her)
Nous (= we) → nous (= us)
Vous (= plural you) → vous (= Plural you)
Ils (= Masculine they) → leur (= Masculine them)
Elles (= Feminine they) → leur (= Feminine them)

(And don’t forget: the verb agrees with the subject!)

Can you translate the following examples? Try covering the answers and having a go yourself first. Do you understand why the translations looks like this?

We miss him. → Il nous manque.
They miss her. → Elle leur manque.
She misses us. → Nous lui manquons.
I miss them. (with feminine them) → Elles me manquent.

This works in all tenses, too!

Et toi ?

Écris une phrase avec “manquer” en français.
Write a French sentence with “manquer.”

For example, you can write: “Mon fils me manque depuis qu’il est parti vivre en Espagne.” (“I miss my son since he left to live to Spain.”)

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Allez, salut 🙂

Join the conversation!

  • Merci pour le leçon au subject de “manquer”.
    Le Leçon prochaine me manquera parce ce que Je irai en France.
    Je éspère que ce phrase est juste.
    Myles

  • Bonjour Géraldine merci beaucoup pour ce leçon c’est tres utile. Mon fils me manque depuis qu’il est parti vivre en Devon

  • Est-ce que « manquer » est utililisé de la même façon au Canada? Quand une amie, née au Maroc, prenait sa retraite je lui ai dit qu’elle me manquerait, ce qui elle a trouvé très drôle.

  • Encore une leçon pratique, Géraldine! Un exemple: Bien que mes parents sont morts depuis longtemps, ils me manquent toujours. – Lorena

  • For a native English speaker (me) this reminds
    me somewhat of telling the time in German ..?
    It occasionally seems back to front, and you have
    to practice it to get the hang of it ..
    .. 8.30 in German is “halb neun” !
    You need to think in terms of “half way to nine”.
    Et voilà ~ “tu me manques” ~ oui, c’est un petit
    peu la même chose pour un anglais ..
    .. sens devant derrière 😀
    Une leçon super utile Géraldine ~ merci merci.

  • Janice me manque parce qu’elle me parle français très bien .. mais quelquefois je ne le comprends pas 😖

  • C’est super ! Justement je me confonds à utiliser ce mot, car il a beaucoup de signification. Merci Mary.

  • C’etait une excellente emission. Plusieurs exercises. Merci Geraldine
    Mes filled me manquent parce que Elle’s habitant loin d’ici

  • This verb always gave me trouble when I started learning French but I kept practicing it over and over until it clicked. The key for me was not trying to translate directly to/from English.

    For some reason I still have difficulty with other uses of the verb though, such as saying that something is missing somewhere. Looking forward to the next lesson on “manquer”!

  • When I was first learning “tu me manques” it was really confusing, then I realized it works the same way as in Spanish “(tu) me haces falta” and then it was easier. For anyone else who speaks Spanish, that might help.

    Other pronoun variations still confuse me tho but it’s mostly lack of practice 😁

  • Il y a une chanson de Maître Gims que j’aime bien. C’est “Tu vais me manquer.” Voilà une façon chouette d’apprendre le mot manquer!

  • Maybe for a later lesson…but if you wanted to say that you were missing the word for something (ie I forgot/don’t know the word) would it be correct to say “Les mots me manquent”?

  • J’aime bien les petits défi comme ce verbe qui font penser plutot que traduire directement de la langue maternal.

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