Thank You in French: 20 Phrases You Can Use to Sound like a Français(e)

Imagine that your French friend Marie just picked you up at the airport in Paris and hosted you in her lovely home for 3 days.

You are grateful and would like to thank her so you say merci when you leave and give her a box full of delicacies from your hometown.

Then you wonder: isn’t’t there a better way to say thank you in French? Merci did feel a bit…short.

While merci is a safe choice in almost all situations and will rarely offend people, it’s not always the best way to thank people in French.

Here are 19 other ways to say thank you in French!

Merci: the classical thank you

merci
Copyright: elosa / 123RF Stock Photo

Merci  is the most common way to say thank you or thanks in French.

You can use it whether you’re talking to your best friend, a seller, a waiter or your boss without any risk of offending anyone.

However, it may be considered a bit cold and short depending on the context.

That’s why it’s often better to expand on the basic merci and use one these common variations:

Sometimes you may also hear these alternative ways of saying thank you in French:

Be aware that merci bien can be perceived as sarcastic depending on the context so I would recommend you to use merci beaucoup instead.

Merci bien, mais j’ai pas que ça à faire !
Thanks a lot, but I have better things to do!

If you want to sound more formal, simply add monsieur or madame after merci.

You could also use mademoiselle but I wouldn’t recommend you to do so because more and more people consider mademoiselle to be sexist since there is a word for unmarried women but not for unmarried men.

If you want to thank a person for something specific, add pour (for) after merci:

je vous remercie: the formal thank you

thank you in French formal

When you want to thank a group of person or highlight the person you’re saying thank you to, you can use one of the following sentences:

These two sentences are generally considered more formal than a simple merci.

Like with merci, you can also use variations of je vous remercie such as:

Just remember that these 4 ways to say thank you in French are rather formal and mostly used in letters.

Using them in everyday situations or in informal emails or Facebook conversations would be strange.

3 other ways to say thank you in French

C’est vraiment gentil de votre part

If someone just offered you a gift or did something nice, you can thank them by saying c’est vraiment gentil de votre part (it’s really kind of you).

As always in French, the votre version is formal while the ta version is informal. That’s because there are two ways to say you in French.

Avec tous mes / nos remerciements

Literally “with all my/our thanks”, avec tous mes/nos remerciements is a good choice when writing a formal letter or email or when you’re writing to a group of people you don’t know well.

Remerciez-le / -la de ma part

If you want to ask someone to thank someone else for you, you can use Remerciez-le /la de ma part (thank him/her for me).

How to answer thank you in French

The most common way to say you’re welcome in French is de rien but there are many alternatives such as:

You can discover other ways to say you are welcome in French in this article.

And you, what’s your favorite way of saying “thank you” in French?

Benjamin Houy

Benjamin Houy is a native French speaker and tea drinker with a BA degree in Applied Foreign Languages and a passion for languages. After teaching French and English in South Korea for 7 months as part of a French government program, he created French Together™ to help English speakers learn the 20% of French that truly matters. You will also find him giving blogging advice on Grow With Less.

15 thoughts on “Thank You in French: 20 Phrases You Can Use to Sound like a Français(e)”

  1. I only speak one language; poor american. I am writing a story wherein I am using French phrases. One of my characters is being criticized but then the person doing so relents. The person under the gun (so to speak) says merci merci Madame, s’il te plait… Is this correct usage?
    I am doing what I can online but that is a bit iffy isn’t it?

    Reply
    • If your character is deferring to authority then s’il vous plait would be used. This sounds awkward because you are saying, literally, “Thank you, ma’am, please.”

      “Merci, on peut y aller.”
      Or
      “ Autre chose à dire”
      But perhaps I am not happy with authority…

      Reply
  2. This is incredibly useful – I have basic French but learning more polished/more casual alternatives is just what I needed! Thank you very much!

    Reply
  3. I was brought up in England, but I have French hereditary. I was taught to always accept a compliment with a smile and a Thank you.

    Reply
  4. Hi all.
    There’s a mistake above:
    under the title ” Avec tous mes / nos remerciements ”

    we read: ” Literally “with all my/our thanks”, avec tous mes/vos remerciements is a good choice…”

    it can’t be ” avec tous mes/vos remerciements ” (my/your), but ” avec tous mes/nos remerciements (my, our)”, as correctly done in the title.

    Reply
  5. When I lived in France, I was told that when someone complimented you on your looks or dress, you NEVERE say Merci! It’s too direct and you are confirming that, yes indeed, you do agree that you look great. Too self-centered. I was told to avoid that by saying “Vous pensez?” or “C’est gentil de votre part.”

    Reply
    • I don’t think it has to do with French culture in particular. It’s just that lots of people have a hard time accepting compliments.

      I personally don’t see any problem with a simple merci when someone makes a compliment but it’s really a matter of preference.

      I honestly would find “vous pensez ?” insulting, as if you were saying the person’s judgement is wrong.

      I believe it’s one of those cases where it’s more about the person than the culture.

      The best compromise would be to say “merci c’est gentil de votre part”. You accept the compliment and also recognize that the person complimenting you is being kind.

      Reply
      • I agree much with you. I’m French and if I am complimented on my looks, I would say ‘Merci!’. Jean may be right in certain cases: if you answer ‘Merci’ too quickly, it would mean that you don’t care about the compliment, “no time to speak about my new looks, etc”. It just depends the way you say Merci, if it comes from the heart, with a smile, or if it sounds quite cold. If I compliment somebody, especially a girl, she would answer “Merci”, and it will be very fine.

        Reply
        • Perhaps it is a generational thing. I was brought up in England and we were taught not to say Thank You to a compliment, but “Do you think so?” When I learnt it in French is seemed perfectly natural to say vous pensez. Americans always said Thank You, so I think it is the American influence that has been introduced to the younger generations.

          Reply

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