How To Say Good Morning In French + 5 Ways To Say “Get Up!”

Good morning in French

In French, the word for good morning is: “Bonjour” (pronounced bɔ̃ʒuʀ). “Bon matin” (pronounced bɔ̃ matɛ̃) translates literally to “good morning”. However, this expression is used mostly in Canada. In French culture, it is very important to greet those around you in the morning with a polite “bonjour”. This post will explore different ways of saying good morning in French and look deeper into culture nuances and five ways to say “get up!”.

The author of this article was an exchange student in Douai, France in 1991-1992 during his junior year of high school. All of the cultural notes in this article are based on his personal experiences in France.

Become an expert at pronouncing “Bonjour”
Learning to say bonjour (both good morning, good day and hello) properly can be a big challenge for many students. This page explores the pronunciation and usage of “bonjour” in depth. Are you curious about what the French typically eat for breakfast? This page explores the top French breakfast foods and traditions. Finally, at the end of the day you can use to this page to learn how to say good night in French.

Saying good morning in French – culture differences

As mentioned, there are some major cultural differences between English speaking (particularly North American) and French society when it comes to saying good morning. In American society, you can get away without saying good morning to somebody either in your family or in public.

In French society, however, it’s imperative that you greet all those around you with a polite “bonjour” (good morning). In the following paragraphs we’ll explore how to say good morning to different people.

Bonjour! Good morning!

Saying good morning in formal situations

In formal situations, such as saying good morning to strangers in shops, teachers or even superiors at work, it’s very important to follow the word “bonjour” by the appropriate corresponding title. Failure to to this would be seen as rude in French culture.

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  • Bonjour, madame good morning, ma’am
  • Bonjour, monsieur good morning, sir
  • Bonjour, mademoiselle good morning, miss
  • Bonjour, mesdames good morning, ladies
  • Bonjour, messieurs good morning (to group of men)

Saying good morning to parents and grand parents

In French culture, it’s is common for kids to follow bonjour in the morning”maman” (mom) and “papa” (dad). The same goes for addressing grand parents.

  • Bonjour, maman good morning, mom
  • Bonjour, papa good morning dad
  • Bonjour, mamie good morning, grandma
  • Bonjour, papie good morning, grandpa

Saying good morning to kids and students

When adults address kids, they will often follow “bonjour” by the corresponding term.

  • Bonjour les enfants good morning, children
  • Bonjour, ma fille saying good morning to a daughter
  • Bonjour, mon fils saying good morning to a son
Bonjour, Madame!

Saying good morning to classmates

In classroom settings, it is typical for classmates to greet each other in the morning one-by-one, using the first name of everybody in the group. Hence, in the school setting, “bonjour” is followed by the first name of the classmate.

Generally, girls greet the other girls with a typical French kissing on the cheek, which is called la bise. Boys typically greet other boys by shaking hands (serrer la main).

  • Bonjour, Martin! Good morning, Martin!
  • Bonjour, Sylvie! Good morning, Sylvie!

Can I use “salut” for good morning?

May people wonder whether it’s okay to use “salut” (both informal hi and bye) to mean good morning. The answers are both yes and no. Using “salut” to mean good morning would be perfectly acceptable with a friend or close family member. However, using this word to mean “good morning could be seen as impolite with anybody else.

This page covers “salut” in detail, offering a complete explanation of the usage and pronunciation.

What does bonne journée mean?

Some people wonder if bonne journée means good morning. It does not. Use the expression, “bonne journée” when you want to say, “have a nice day”.

Getting somebody to wake up

You might have to wake somebody up before saying good morning to them. Here are few different ways to wake somebody up in French.

  • Lève-toi! Wake up! (said to a single person)
  • Levez-vous! Wake up! (said to a stranger or group of people)
  • Debout! On your feet! Rise and shine! (Literally, “up”; almost a military expression)
  • Sors de ton lit! Get out of bed!
  • Debout debout! secouez-vous! Wakey! Wakey

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About David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site, FrenchLearner.com, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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