How do you respond to thank you in French? What to say after merci in French? What's "you're welcome" in French Canadian? In this article, you will find 5 French ways to respond to merci.
"You are welcome" is one of the most overused phrases that people utter every day. It's a simple gesture of politeness and good manners that has become a truly global greeting. It's amazing how far this phrase has spread in such a short time. And it is amazing to see which languages have adopted it too.
In today's lesson, we will teach you five ways to say "You're welcome" in French so that you can return the favour in the future when someone thanks you. Let’s begin!
1. The very informal "de rien"
When someone says "merci" and you want to reply, first you need to decide how polite you want to be. "De rien" is the most common and informal reply when someone says, "Thank you." This French expression translates to "of nothing" or "out of the goodness of my heart". Nevertheless, de rien has a general informal tone and should not be used in a professional context or situations requiring much formality. If the person is a friend, colleague, or close family member, it's best just to say "de rien".
2. The colloquial "il y a pas de quoi"
The French phrase, "il y a pas de quoi" (there is no need) means that it is not necessary to thank someone. It also expresses the speaker’s humility and their opinion that their efforts were so small or inconsequential that thanking them would be excessive. This phrase is used when you have done something very simple for someone, like holding open the door for them or thanking them for their work. Compared to de rien, it's a bit more friendly and casual. It is quite acceptable to use it when speaking to strangers or elderly people since it is friendlier and less formal than de rien. It is also shortened to "pas de quoi" when speaking.
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3. The semi-formal "je t’en prie"
We use the French grammar "je t'en prie" when we want to say: "-do not mention it (like a reflexive). You are welcome. You are very kind.
Je t'en prie is most likely used when someone like a coworker or colleague thanks you for a service or kindness.
4. The formal "je vous en prie"
It's quite polite and suitable for any situation, whereas "je vous en prie" is more suited to very formal situations and with people older than us. The text literally translates to "I insist." Although you are insisting on the other person accepting your hospitality in an informal setting, such as with friends and family, you don't sound aggressive in your tone. The only thing you're doing is making sure the person does not feel any duty to thank you.
5. The French-Canadian "bienvenue"
French has a lot of polite and casual phrases that you can use during your stay in Québec. One of these is the word "bienvenue," used when someone thanks you for something you did for them. This is a very common word in Québec, as everywhere people are thankful when they are given or receive some help or a kind act. It is considered an archaism, but it is still very commonly used in the Quebecois region of Canada to mean "you’re welcome".
On its own, "Bienvenue" is also used to invite people into a building or home in other areas outside Quebec.
As an example,
-Merci ! (Thanks!)
- Bienvenue ! (You're welcome!)
5. Southern France's "avec plaisir"
"Avec plaisir" literally means "with pleasure" or "gladly." It's an expression commonly used in Southern France (Provence, Midi-Pyrenées, and Languedoc-Roussillon). The French word "pleasure" is the equivalent of "thank you" in English. It is often used in conjunction with "merci" as a reaction to thanks or compliments, or to suggest that anyone you are speaking with will be doing you a favour by accepting your thanks.
The expression is almost the same as "my pleasure," particularly for English speakers. So next time you are visiting Place du Capitole, say thanks to your tour guide and don't be surprised if they respond, "avec plaisir"
So, there you have it, five ways to tell someone you’re welcome in French. If you are familiar with these expressions, we are certain you won't miss an opportunity to say, "you’re welcome." This is the key to getting better at the French language! Having learned the five ways of saying "you're welcome" in French, you can now step into social situations with confidence. Have you said merci to us? Il y a pas de quoi ! You can check our post on Instagram and engage with us.
About the author
Stephanie has a knack for making language learning and teaching fun and engaging. She holds a Master of Arts and a Bachelor's Degree in French Studies and is fluent in three languages. The writer has lived in France, Ghana, and Canada, and enjoys reading, travelling, and writing about her adventures.