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 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 26 common ways to say “Thank you” in French!
26 Ways to Say “Thank you” in French
The basic “Thank you”
Merci is the most common way to say “Thank you” or “Thanks” in French.
Yes, in French there are no separate words for “Thank you” and “Thanks” – it all depends on context.
This means that merci is the perfect go-to.
You can use it whether you’re talking to your best friend, a shopkeeper, a waiter, or your boss without any risk of offending anyone.
If you want to sound more formal, simply add monsieur, madame, or the person’s name 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.
- Merci Monsieur (Thank you, sir)
- Merci Madame (Thank you, ma’am/miss)
- Merci, Arsène. (Thank you/Thanks, Arsène.)
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 of its common variations, which make up the next few items on our list.
You can also add details about why you’re thankful. For instance: Merci, c’est vraiment gentil. (Thanks, that’s very nice of you.)
The “Thanks a lot”
Merci beaucoup means “Thanks a lot” or “Thanks so much” in French.
It can be used in formal or informal situations, but note that the French don’t like exaggerated emotions, so if you’re not truly extremely thankful but just a little grateful, opt for just using Merci.
The risky “Thanks a lot”
In English “Thanks a lot” can be sincere, or it can be sarcastic, depending on the context. With that in mind, it may not be surprising to know that there is a “Thanks a lot” like this in French, too.
Merci bien can just mean “Thanks a lot” or “Thanks so much” in a truly grateful way. But it can also be used sarcastically and may be associated with that in many French speakers’ minds.
Merci bien, mais j’ai pas que ça à faire !
(Thanks a lot, but I have better things to do!)
You’ll probably hear Merci bien used in a non-sarcastic way, and as long as you’re sure you’ll be understood, you could use it that way, too. But if you want to be extra careful, use Merci beaucoup instead.
The “Thanks in advance”
Merci d’avance means “Thanks in advance” or “Thank you in advance.” You can also say Merci par avance.
As in English, these phrases are slightly formal. They tend to be used more in written French than in spoken French.
The “No thank you”
Non merci means “No thank you” in French.
It can be used alone or you can add something to it if you feel that it seems too brusque. For instance: Non merci, je n’ai pas faim. (No thank you/No thanks, I’m not hungry.)
The “Thank you all”
Merci à tous means “Thank you all” in French.
This common expression can be used in formal and informal communications, especially written.
If you want to be more friendly with it – for instance, if you’re thanking a group of family/friends, rather than just a large or general group, you could say (or write) Merci à vous tous instead.
The “Thank you for…”
If you want to thank a person for something specific, add pour (for) after merci. If you’re really grateful, you can also include beaucoup. For instance:
Merci beaucoup pour (Thank you/Thanks very much for…)
Merci pour le cadeau. (Thank you/Thanks for the gift.)
Merci pour votre/ton aide (thank you (formal/informal) for your help)
If you want to thank someone for doing something, use Merci d’avoir or Merci d’être, plus a verb’s past participle. You will use avoir or être depending on which one your verb is conjugated with in compound tenses.
Merci de me l’avoir dit. (Thank you for telling me).
Merci d’être venus (Thank you(all) for coming)
Be careful not to confuse Merci d’avoir + past participle of a verb with Merci de + infinitive. Let’s look at that latter next:
The command “Thank you for….”
If you ever go to a hotel or other place in France where there might be instructions, you’ll probably see signs with sentences like Merci de fermer la porte derrière vous. or Merci de laisser la fenêtre ouverte.
This is the equivalent of the English “Thank you for…” addressed to the general public – in other words, a polite, friendly way to give instructions. (Think: “Thank you for not smoking,” or “Please shut the door behind you.”)
Be careful that you don’t confuse Merci de… and Merci d’avoir + verb infinitive. The latter is a genuine way to say “thank you” that we discussed previously on our list.
The million or infinite thanks
If you really want to thank someone A LOT, you could say Merci mille fois or Merci infiniment.
Merci mille fois literally means “Thank you a thousand times” or “Thanks a thousand times.” It’s roughly equivalent to the English “Thanks a million”. But while the English version is fairly informal, Merci mille fois is a bit more neutral. You can use it in most situations.
A similar alternative is Mille mercis (A thousand thanks), but this is not as commonly used.
Merci infiniment (Infinite thanks) is another option that also works in most situations.
When you use these expressions, just be sure that there’s a reason. French people tend to dislike exaggerated sentiments, so for instance if someone passes you the salt at the table, you probably should just say Merci.
The big “Thank you”
Un grand merci à (A big “Thank you” to…) is, as it sounds in English, a phrase usually used in speeches, not when you’re directly thanking a friend or someone else close to you. Otherwise, it will come off as grandiose and insincere.
If you want to show huge thanks towards someone close to you, opt for Merci mille fois or Merci beaucoup, instead.
The “Thank you to…”
Merci à … means “Thank you to….” It’s usually used in speeches, to talk about someone who’s in a crowd or not present.
For instance: Merci à mon époux, qui a toujours cru en moi. (Thank you to my husband, who’s always believed in me.)
The “No, thank you“
If you want to clarify that you think the person who thanked you is (also) deserving of thanks, you can say Merci à vous or Merci à toi.
You will mostly hear this French “thank you” as a reply to someone thanking someone else. Think of it as the equivalent of “No, thank you” or in some cases, “Thank you, too”, when you want to emphasize that you are the one who should be thankful, not the person who just thanked you.
A common equivalent is C’est moi qui vous remercie or C’est moi qui te remercie (literally: “It is I who thank you.”).
The “I thank you”
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:
- Je vous remercie (“I thank you” for a person you address with the formal vous or for a group of people)
- Je te remercie (“I thank you” for a person you address with the familiar tu (or with God))
These two sentences are generally considered more formal than a simple Merci.
As with merci, you can also use variations of Je vous remercie such as:
- Je vous remercie du fond du coeur (I thank you from the bottom of my heart)
- Je vous remercie par avance (I thank you in advance)
- Je vous remercie de votre attention (I thank you for your attention)
- Je vous remercie pour… (I thank you for…)
All of these can be used with tu, as well.
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.
You may also see this structure used with other subjects. For instance, Nous vous remercions de votre compréhension (We thank you for your understanding of these circumstances.) or Jean et moi te remercions (Jean and I thank you.).
The “It’s really kind of you”
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/That’s really kind of you) (used with someone you refer to with the formal vous or when addressing multiple people) or C’est vraiment gentil de ta part (It’s/That’s really kind of you) (used with someone you refer to with the informal tu).
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.
Note that the word gentil remains masculine, since it’s referring to the action that the person is grateful for (cela), not the person or people who performed the action.
The “With all my/our thanks”
Literally “with all my/our thanks”, Avec tous mes/nos remerciements is a good way to end a message when you’re closing a formal letter or email or when you’re writing to a group of people you don’t know well.
The “Thank him/her for me”
If you want to ask someone to thank someone else for you, you can use Remerciez-le de ma part (Thank him for me), or if you want to thank a girl or woman: Remerciez-la de ma part.
You can also conjugate remercier for tu, the informal “you”, if you’re asking someone close to you say thanks: Remercie-le de ma part./Remercie-la de ma part.
If you want to ask someone to thank a group of people, you can say Remerciez-les de ma part (Thank them for me) or, with tu, Remercie-les de ma part.
The cool (but maybe outdated) “Thanks”
Cimer was very cool a few decades ago, but seems to be less popular today. Then again, slang is an unpredictable thing, so it may still be popular or have recently become popular again among certain groups.
Like all slang, only use it in informal situations. And since it doesn’t seem to be particularly trendy at the moment, be careful about using it at all if you don’t want to come across as uncool or even a little zarbi.
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.
Why is it important to know how to say “thank you” in French?
The French are polite people, and it’s common, and even expected, to thank people like shopkeepers, ticketing agents, and servers.
And in general, saying “thank you” is one of the most basic ways to be polite.
If you come to France and can’t remember anything but Merci, still go for it – the French person you’re speaking to will appreciate the effort and the sentiment!
Where can I find more ways to say “thank you” in French?
Our list covers the most common ways to say “thank you” in French. But if you want to get a little fancy or poetic or highly specific, you can do an internet search for something like “message de remerciement” (thank you message) or “sms de remerciement” for inspiration.
Do you have a favorite or go-to way of saying “Thank you” in French?