How to Say Good Morning in French

Опубликовал Admin
21-05-2021, 16:30
If you're visiting a French-speaking country or sleeping over with a French-speaking friend, you likely want to know how to say "good morning" in French. The standard way to say "good morning" in French is "bonjour" (bohn-zhoor), which actually translates to "good day" and is typically used to say "hello." Particularly in France, French-speakers don't typically use a literal "good morning" to greet people at the start of the day. There are many other morning traditions French people observe that might seem strange to you, particularly if you grew up in the US.

Cheat Sheet

Greeting Others in the Morning

  1. Say "bonjour" to tell people good morning in most contexts. Even though the word "matin" means "morning, French speakers don't typically use it to say "good morning" to people. Instead, they simply say "bonjour" (bohn-zhoor). While this word technically means "good day," and is more typically used simply to say "hello," it's the common way to say "good morning" in most Francophone countries.
    • The French, generally speaking, don't place much emphasis on the morning. For example, breakfast is a small, light meal. This may be part of the reason it's not common to greet someone specifically with "good morning."
  2. Switch to "salut" when greeting friends. "Salut" (sah-loo) is a more casual form of "hello," similar to a "hi" or "hey" in English. If you're talking to close friends or people younger than you in the morning, this is a good way to say "good morning."
    • The French culture is relatively formal. Even among close family members, "salut" may not be appropriate if they are older than you or have some level of authority over you.
  3. Offer a "bonne matinée" as you are leaving. The phrase "bonne matinée" (buhn meh-tee-nay) does mean "good morning," but it's never said when you are greeting someone for the first time in the morning. Rather, you might say it as you're leaving to go on about your day.
    • Used this way, the phrase more accurately means "have a good morning," as a wish you extend as you depart someone's company. You can think of it as similar to how people in America may say "have a nice day" as they take their leave.

Personalizing Your Morning Greeting

  1. Use a title if you're greeting someone you don't know. Because of the formality of French culture, it's polite to add a title when greeting someone you don't know, similar to how you might say "sir" or "ma'am" in English. In French, however, titles are appropriate when speaking to someone you don't know even if they're your age or younger. Add the title after you say "bonjour." Common titles include:
    • "Madame" (mah-dahm), if you're speaking to a woman who is obviously married or older than you
    • "Monsieur" (muh-syuhr), if you're speaking to an adult man, married or unmarried
    • "Mademoiselle" (mehd-mwah-zell), if you're speaking to a young girl
  2. Add the phrase "à tous" after "bonjour" to say "good morning" to a group of people. If you're greeting a group of people you know, you can dispense with the formality of titles. Instead, you can simply call out "bonjour à tous" (bohn-zhoor ah toos).
    • Unlike most French words, the "s" at the end of "tous" is pronounced, although it isn't drawn out.
  3. Include a term of endearment if appropriate. You may prefer something warmer to greet a close family member or significant other when you wake up in the morning. Saying "bonjour" followed by a term of endearment will communicate your affection for them. Common French terms of endearment include:
    • "Mon amour" (mohn ah-moor) – my love
    • "Ma chérie" (mah sheh-ree) – my sweetheart/my darling (to a woman)
    • "Mon chéri" (mohn sheh-ree) – my sweetheart/my darling (to a man)
    • "Mon cher" (mohn shehr) – my sweetheart/my darling (to a man)
    • "Ma chère (mah shehr) – my sweetheart/my darling (to a woman)
    • "Ma belle" (mah bell) – my beautiful (to a woman; informal)

Using Other Types of Morning Greetings

  1. Kiss friends on the cheeks first thing in the morning. Air kisses to the cheeks of friends and acquaintances are common in the morning, particularly if it's the first time you're seeing someone. Generally, the "faire la bise" involves two kisses, one to each cheek. However, different traditions prevail in different regions.
    • For example, friends in Brittany greet each other with only one kiss. Meanwhile, in Normandy, friends greet each other with four kisses, two to each cheek. In southern France, you'll commonly see three kisses.
    • Traditionally, the "faire la bise" is only done when you greet each other first thing in the morning or when you are saying "goodnight" at the end of the evening. If you see friends throughout the day, a friendly "salut" and a hug will suffice.
  2. Hold your hand out if you only want a handshake. In some circumstances, you may not feel comfortable with the traditional "faire la bise" greeting. If you want to avoid it, keep your body straight and hold your hand out towards the person as you say "bonjour."
    • The person will usually interpret your body language to mean that you want a handshake, rather than air kisses. Typically, they won't be offended, particularly if they're a friend.
    • Men, in particular, are more likely to greet other men with a handshake than with air kisses, particularly in more urban areas.
  3. Shake hands with people older than you or in a position of authority. Historically, the "faire la bise" custom was a near-universal French greeting. However, the custom has evolved so that it's typically only used between friends and family members. If someone is considered a higher rank than you, either socially or in the workplace, it's more common to shake hands in the morning than to exchange air kisses.
    • For example, it used to be customary for a manager to air kiss their employees good morning. However, this is increasingly seen as being overly familiar and friendly.
    • Keep in mind that French culture, generally, is very formal. When in doubt, a handshake is always appropriate, while air kisses may not be.


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