You're not alone in your journey to learn French. In fact, French is the second most studied language and the fifth most spoken language in the world.
Knowing how to say how are you in French is important as it's one of the basic phrases in any language. You've probably heard some terms already such as comment ça va? Or comment allez vous? Just as likely you've already come across some common replies to these questions such as ça va bien, c'est bon, or Comme ci comme ça.
The first lesson in this article will be about formalities in French. Unlike with English, when you speak French, you must address people differently. There are formal and informal ways to address people when in France, and generally when speaking French.
Throughout the article, you'll also notice blue buttons. These are there to help you listen to French pronunciation and learn to communicate like a native.
Let's get going!
It's a cultural norm to ask how are you in French. You can use it as a general greeting. You can ask strangers or people you know well. The response you can expect to get will range from a short answer to a detailed conversation depending on who you ask and what the situation is.
The French have formal and informal pronouns for 'you.'
When reading and studying the examples below, keep in mind that you'll need to switch out the pronouns for you (vous/tu) depending on the situation and who you're talking with.
There are actually only two ways that the French consider to be more formal than others and they are:
As you can see, both use the formal pronoun vous. The first expression literally means how are you and can be used as a passing greeting or a more serious one. Comment vous sentez-vous is asked to someone you know to have been unwell or is currently under medical care.
Well, I hope you're ready for this! There are more than two dozen different ways to ask someone how they are in the French language. Each of these has a time and place, but all can be used casually.
|Ça gaze ?||What’s up?|
|Ça ne vas pas?||What’s wrong?|
|Ça va?||How’s it going?|
|Ça va bien?||Is it going well?|
|Comment ça va?||How’s it going?|
|Comment tu te sens?||How are you feeling?|
|Comment vas-tu?||How are you?|
|Qu’est-ce qu’il y a?||What’s wrong?/What’s the matter?|
|Qu’est-ce que tu fais?||What are you up to?/What are you doing?|
|Qu’est-ce qui ne vas pas?||What’s wrong?|
|Qu’est-ce qui se passe?||What's happening?|
|Quoi de neuf?||What's up?/What's new?|
|Salut ça va?||Hi, how are you?|
|Tu vas bien?||You're doing well?|
|Vous allez bien?||Are you well?|
There are a few ways to ask how are you in French that deserve some explanation because, at first glance, they don't necessarily make sense!
Here are some great ways to respond in French to how you're doing if you're doing well.
|Ça roule||It rolls. Things are going well|
|Ça va||It’s going well|
|Ça va bien||It’s going well|
|J’ai la patate||I’m in a great mood (Literally: I have the potato)|
|Je suis en plein forme||I’m in great shape|
|Je vais bien, merci||I am doing well, thank you|
|Nous allons bien||We are well|
|Tout va bien||Everything is going well|
|Très bien, merci||Very good, thank you|
Of course, you may not be feeling that great so here are ways to answer in that fashion.
|Ça ira mieux…||I’ll be better…|
|Ça pourrait aller mieux||It could be going better|
|Ça pourrait être pire||It could be worse|
|Comme ci comme ça||So so|
|Comme d’hab||As usual|
|Je n’ai pas à me plaindre||Nothing to complain about|
|Je suis fatigué||I'm tired|
|Je suis un peu malade||I’m a little sick|
|La routine||Same as usual|
|Pas mal||Not bad|
|Pas terrible||Not great|
|Pas trop mal||Not bad|
|Un peu fatigué||A little tired|
Thankfully, this is really simple! Just keep in mind of the situation is formal or informal.
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