25 French Greeting Words

What are the most commonly used French greeting words?

The most commonly used French greeting words are bonjour (meaning both good morning and hello) and au revoir (good-bye). Another common informal greeting is salut, which means both hi and by. This lesson covers French greetings in depth, offering a complete list of formal, informal and slang greetings.

How to say hello in French

There are several ways to say hello in French, depending on the hour of the day and who you are addressing. Be sure to bonjour with strangers and not salut. Salut mean hi but it is informal and strictly for people you already know as well as kids and teenagers.

Similarly, use ‘Comment allez-vous? for ‘How are you?’ in formal situations and ‘Ça va?’ in informal situatons.

  • Bonjour bon-joor Hello, good morning!
  • Salut sal-u Hi!/bye
  • Ça va? sa-vah How’s it going?
  • Comment ça va? como-sa-vah How’s it going?
  • Comment vas-tu? como-vah-tu How are you? (informal)
  • Comment allez-vous? como-allay-voo How are you? (formal or to group)
  • Bon après-midi boh-apray-mee-dee Good afternoon!
  • Bonsoir boh-swahr Good evening.

How to say good-bye in French

There are several ways to say good-bye in French, also depending on the time of day and who you are addressing. Use au revoir in formal situations. Note the pronunciation of au revoir is ‘oh-vwhar’. Do not pronounce the ‘re’.

Salut also means bye but it is strictly informal. Use ‘salut’ with people you already know or kids and teenagers.

  • Au revoir ohv-voir Good-bye
  • Salut! sah-loo Bye! (informal)
  • Bonne nuit bun-nwee Good night
  • Bonne journée bun-joor-nay Have a nice day
  • Bonne soirée bun-swahr-ay Have a nice evening
  • À bientôt! ah-bi-ehn-toh See you soon!
French greeting words

Ways to to say how you are doing

There are several ways to express how you are doing. Very simply, you can answer the question ‘Ça va?’ (How’s it going?) with ‘Ça va’ (Literally it goes or ‘fine’). You can also add to your answer. For example: ‘Ça va bien’ (I’m doing well).

While ‘Comment allez-vous?’ (How are you?) literally means ‘How do you go?, you can answer the ‘je’ (I) form of aller (to go). For example, ‘Je vais bien’ literally means ‘I go well’ or I’m fine. ‘Je vais mal’ literally means ‘I’m going poorly’ or ‘I’m not doing well’.

Another way to answer is ‘tout va bien’, which translates literally to ‘everything goes well’, or ‘all is well’.

Speed up your learning with an app

Many of our students have greatly enhanced their learning by using an app. On these pages we've examined the top-30 apps for learning French. On this pages we've written comprehensive reviews for Pimsleur (great for people struggling with pronunciation), Rosetta Stone and FrenchPod101 (both great for visual learners).

  • Ça va sah-vah I’m okay.
  • Ça va bien, merci. sah-vah-bi-ehn, mersee I’m well, thanks.
  • Ça va mal sah-vah-mahl I’m not doing well.
  • Ça va comme ci comme ça com-see-com-sah I’m so-so.
  • Je vais bien. I’m fine.
  • Je vais mal. I”m not doing well / I’m doing poorly.
  • Je vais comme ci, comme ça. I’m so-so.
  • Tout va bien. Everything is going fine.

Introductions for meeting for the first time in French

There are several ways to say nice to meet you in French. The two most common are ‘Je suis ravi de faire votre connaissance’, which translates literally to ‘I am delighted to make your acquaintance’.

‘Enchanté’ translates literally to enchanted. You can simply exclaim, ‘Enchanté!’. In addition, you can also say, ‘Je suis enchanté de faire votre connaissance’.

  • Bienvenue! bi-ehn-vuh-noo Welcome!
  • Ravi de faire votre connaissance! ravee-duh-fair-vo-truh-co-nay-sanse Nice to meet you (formal)
  • Enchanté(e)! uhn-shan-tay Nice to meet you!

List of informal and slang slang French greetings

The French love to use informal greetings. Here is a very brief list. ‘Tu es en forme’ literally means ‘Are you in shape’? It’s fun greeting to use with friends. Similarly, ‘Quoi de neuf’ (literally ‘What of new’?) or ‘What’s new?’ is good for friends and good acquaintances.

  • Quoi de neuf? kwah-duh-nuf What’s new?
  • Tu es en forme? tu-ay-ehn-form Are you feeling well? (informal)
  • Coucou! coo-coo Hey there! (very informal)
  • Ça baigne? sah-banyuh How’s it going?
  • Ça bouge? sah-booge How’s it going?

French Greetings – YouTube video lesson

I have recommended EasyFrench’s videos to my students for a long time. Specifically, I like these videos because you can see and learn exactly how the language is used by native speakers in the street.

This video covers French greetings in depth. You will learn which words to use with different people at different times of the day. You will also learn the cultural aspects of greeting people, such as shaking hands and kissing on the cheek.

Discover more:

Related lessons:

If you've found this post useful you might want to considering looking at our post covering the best apps for learning French. We've looked a total 33 apps and have written comprehensive reviews of Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur and FrenchPod101.

Sign Up For A FREE Trial French Lesson On Skype And Get Instant Access To My French Pronunciation Crash Course.

Get the French Pronunciation Crash Course!