If you spend a little bit of time in France, you’ll notice that the French rarely answer “oui” when you ask them a question.
Instead, they use the equivalent of “of course”, “yup” and “maybe”.
If you want to better understand everyday French and sound like a native rather than a tourist, you need to know these different ways to say “yes” in French.
That’s why today, you’ll discover 21 different ways to say “yes” in style and say goodbye to the boring “oui”.
The contradiction yes
“Si” is what I like to call the contradiction yes.
The French use it to contradict negative questions and statements in both formal and informal situations.
T’as jamais visité Nantes, n’est-ce pas ?
Si, l’année dernière
You never visited Nantes, right?
Oh I did, last year.
The neutral yes
“D’accord” is the French equivalent of “alright”.
It’s a great way to move away from “oui” while not taking any risk.
It’s also used to form the expression “être d’accord” (to agree).
On se voit demain ?
Do we meet tomorrow?
The casual yes
Ça marche” is a casual way to say “it’s ok for me” in French. This is the perfect yes to use with friends and people you’re close to.
You can basically use it with anyone you are on a “tu” basis with.
You could also use the less common “ça roule” (lit: it rolls”) instead.
Je passe te chercher à 14 heures lundi
I’ll pick you up at 2PM on Monday
The obvious answer yes
If a person asks you something to which the answer seems obvious, you could answer:
- Bien sûr (of course)
- Evidemment (obviously)
You can use “bien sûr” in any situation, but “évidemment” is better suited for formal situations.
T’aimes le chocolat ?
The unconvinced yes
Your friend absolutely wants to introduce you to someone while you’d rather stay at home. The conversation could go something like that:
ça va être génial, tu verras
It’s gonna be great, you’ll see
The where do I sign yes
Sometimes an opportunity comes up that’s so exciting that you wish you could say “yes” even before the person is done talking.
That’s when you can use “carrément” in French.
You should only use it in informal situations.
ça te dirait de visiter Costa Rica cet été ?
The irritated yes
Here are two useful expressions you can use if someone asks you an irritating question:
Just don’t forget that these two ways to say yes in French could easily be considered rude.
- Mais oui
- Ben oui
Tu as fait tes devoirs ?
Mais oui, je te l’ai déjà dit trois fois
You did your homework, right?
Yes, I already told you (I did) three times!
The genetically modified yes
When my girlfriend talked to me in French for the first time, she was confused to hear me answer “ouais” instead of “oui”.
“Ouais” means exactly the same as “oui”, but it’s considered more casual.
So casual in fact that some people may be irritated if you use it with them.
“Ouais” and “ouaip” are two awesome additions to your “oui” toolbox, but remember that you’d only use them with people you’re close to, that is with people you use “tu” with.
T’es fatigué ?
Ouais, j”me suis couché tard hier
Are you tired?
Yeah, I went to bed late last night
The “I agree” yes
If you’re happy to do something, but can’t use the casual “carrément”, because the situation is too formal, you could use these variations instead:
- Avec plaisir
Je vous sers un café ?
The that’s right yes
When you want to confirm that what someone says is correct, you can use one of these (rather formal) words:
- Exactement (exactly)
- Tout à fait (that’s right)
- En effet (indeed)
Vous êtes bien Monsieur Durand ?
Tout à fait
You are Monsieur Durand, right?
The perfect yes
Sometimes, you may want to say that something is perfect. In this case, you can use:
- Très bien
- Oui merci
Votre chambre vous convient-elle ?
Oui merci/ oui c’est parfait / oui c’est très bien
Here you go. You now have all the knowledge you need to say goodbye to “oui” and bonjour to a myriad of fun and exciting ways to say “yes”.
Pick a “yes” from this list and try to use it with your conversation partner! You’ll immediately sound more French.
Oh and click here if you’d like to discover 13 ways to say “no” in French!