One of the most ubiquitous words in French is probably merci. Even people who don’t know the language will know that this means thank you in French. But did you know that there are many different ways to express gratitude in French?
In this post, we’ll walk you through the most commonly used alternatives for how to say thank you in French, including how and when to use them. We’ll also touch on how to respond when someone thanks you!
Starting off with our most well-known way to say thank you in French, merci is a simple option that works well in any situation. It can also mean thanks in French, which means it can be both formal and informal. This all-purpose word is very useful!
- J’ai sorti la poubelle. / Merci. – I took out the trash. / Thanks.
Merci beaucoup, meaning thank you very much in French, is a way to express more gratitude than your average thanks. Just like in English, you’d use this expression when you want to thank someone with a more-than-typical amount of sincerity.
- J’ai reçu ton cadeau, merci beaucoup ! – I got your present, thank you very much!
C’est très gentil de ta part, C’est très gentil de votre part
Moving on to a slightly more formal option, you can express thank you in French without actually saying the word merci. This option, meaning that’s very nice of you, can be either informal or formal, depending on whether we use “ta” or “votre”. Using “ta” makes the phrase more informal, where using “votre” makes it more formal. This phrase is most appropriate when thanking someone for doing something for you.
- Maman, j’ai lavé ta voiture. / C’est très gentil de ta part. – Mom, I washed your car. / That’s very nice of you.
- Je vois que vous avez déjà nettoyé. C’est très gentil de votre part. – I see that you have already cleaned. That is very nice of you.
Je te remercie, Je vous remercie
This option, literally meaning I thank you in French, is a more elevated and elegant way to thank someone. It uses indirect object pronouns to underline that you are specifically thanking the person to whom you are speaking. Like with the previous phrase, using “te” makes this phrase informal and using “vous” makes it formal.
- Je te remercie pour le café. – I thank you for the coffee.
- Je vous remercie pour l’invitation. – I thank you for the invitation.
The verb “remercier”
The verb remercier in French means to thank or to give thanks to. You can use this verb with an indirect object pronoun (as above) or without one, depending on the situation and who you are thanking. When you use the verb remercier without an indirect object pronoun, you’ll usually be expressing thanks to someone outside of the conversation you are having. This verb is conjugated according to the regular -er verb pattern.
- Nous remercions les infirmières. – We thank the nurses.
- Ils remercient leurs parents. – They thank their parents.
Merci à toi, Merci à vous
Another way to say thank you in French directly to the person you are thanking is merci à toi or merci à vous. This literally means thanks to you and can be either informal or formal, depending on whether you use “toi” or “vous.” Often, you’ll use this phrase after someone has thanked you for something and you are thanking them back.
- Merci pour une belle soirée. / Merci à toi ! – Thanks for a great night. / Thank you!
Avec tous mes remerciements, Avec tous nos remerciements
A much more formal phrase, the expression avec tous nos remerciements means with all our thanks. You’d normally find this phrase as a sign-off in a message, such as an email or a memo. The first option, avec tous mes remerciements means with my thanks, and the second option, avec tous nos remerciements means with our thanks. So, it depends on who is doing the thanking in this scenario!
- Cher cousin, nous venons de recevoir ton beau message. Avec tous nos remerciements, Sarah et Delphine – Dear cousin, we have just received your beautiful message. With our thanks, Sarah and Delphine
Cimer is a very informal way to say thank you in French is using a branch of French slang known as Verlan. Following regular Verlan rules of switching syllables of a word to create a new one, the word cimer is an inverted version of the word merci. Verlan is a very young and urban slang, so it’s unlikely that you’ll hear older generations using cimer. This expression is best used between friends and people with whom you are very familiar.
- Cimer pour la verre, mon pôte. – Thanks for the drink, my friend.
Mille mercis, Merci mille fois
Both versions of this expression, either mille mercis or merci mille fois, provide another way to say thank you so much in French. While they translate literally as a million thank yous and thanks a million times, a better approximation is thanks a million. This grandiose expression would best be used when someone has done something big for you, or gone very far out of their way to help you.
- T’es sûr que tu peux m’aider demain ? Merci mille fois ! – Are you sure you can help me tomorrow? Thanks a million!
If you want to thank someone for something specific, use the phrase merci pour plus the word or action for which you are thanking them. This attention to detail really personalizes your expression of gratitude!
- Merci pour les fleurs, elles sont tellement jolies ! – Thank you for the flowers, they are so beautiful!
Sometimes, you might want to thank someone before they have even done anything! If this is the case, you can say merci d’avance in French, which means thank you in advance. You’ll often see this phrase in writing, such as emails or notes. This phrase can be informal or formal.
- Une fois que vous recevez ce message, veuillez nous contacter. Merci d’avance. – Once you receive this message, please contact us. Thank you in advance.
Un grand merci
Our last way to say thank you very much in French is un grand merci. Usually followed by something specific, like a person being thanked or an action requiring thanks, this phrase literally means a big thank you. It is neither informal nor formal.
- Je veux donner un grand merci à mes parents pour le repas. – I want to give my parents a big thank you for the meal.
“You’re welcome” in French: Responding When Someone Thanks You
With all the variations on expressing thanks in French, it’s time to learn a few responses. We already saw that with a couple of the French thank you expressions can be used to thank someone back. Let’s see a few other ways to say you’re welcome in French.
The first and most commonly heard way to respond to “thank you” in French is de rien, which translates literally as it’s nothing. De rien is nonetheless the quintessential expression equivalent to you’re welcome in French. It’s neither informal nor formal, and can be used by anyone in almost any context.
- Merci, Philippe ! / De rien. – Thanks, Philippe! / You’re welcome.
Je t’en prie, Je vous en prie
A more formal way to respond to “thank you” in French is je vous en prie. This expression is equivalent to you’re welcome or don’t mention it, and is a bit more polite than “de rien.” The familiar form of the expression is je t’en prie.
- Merci, monsieur. / Je vous en prie. – Thank you, sir. / You’re welcome.
Pas de problème
An informal way to respond to “thank you” in French is pas de problème, which means no problem or no worries. This option should be used in informal situations.
- Cimer pour la clope. / Pas de problème. – Thanks for the smoke. / No problem.
Bienvenue (only in Québec)
You may recognize this word as French for welcome. But watch out, because in France, there is no link between bienvenue and you’re welcome! We include it here in case you’re in Québec though, since this translation of the English word is even more common than “de rien” for you’re welcome in québécois French.
- Merci. / Bienvenue. Bonne journée! – Thanks. / You’re welcome. Have a good day!
Let’s do a quick recap: how do you say thank you in French? Well, it depends on the situation and how formal you need to be.
Merci, meaning thank you in French, is an all-purpose option for any situation. Merci beaucoup, mille mercis, merci pour…, merci d’avance, and un grand merci can also be used in any situation.
If you’re looking for a more informal option, use c’est très gentil de ta part, je te remercie, merci à toi, or even cimer.
If the situation calls for more formality, opt for the “vous” versions of the previous expressions: c’est très gentil de votre part, je vous remercie, and merci à vous. The two versions of avec tous nos remerciements are also quite formal.
When someone thanks you, you have a couple of options for you’re welcome in French. You can say de rien in all situations, and it’s the most common response. Je t’en prie and je vous en prie add a bit more politeness, and are just as ubiquitous. Informally, an easy response is pas de problème. Only use bienvenue if you’re in Québec.
With these, you’re all set to add some variety whenever you need to express your thanks in French. Merci beaucoup for reading!