Friday, November 22, 2019

Saying Hello in French

Saying Hello in French Greetings are an essential part of French social etiquette. The most important and common greeting is  bonjour, which means hello, good day, or even hi. There are also other ways to say hello or greet someone in French, but its important to understand what greetings are acceptable in various social contexts. Youll also need to familiarize yourself with greetings that are considered informal versus those that you would use in more formal settings. Bonjour- The Most Common Greeting Saying bonjour is the most common way to greet someone in French. Its a flexible, all-purpose term: You use it to greet people in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Bonjour is always polite, and it works in any situation. In France, you need to say  bonjour  when entering a place.  Whether you are talking to a single salesperson  or entering a crowded bakery, greet them by saying  bonjour. For example, if there are a few people sitting at a table you are approaching or several acquaintances are drinking  un expresso  at the bar as you walk up to them,  greet them with a friendly  bonjour.   If you are talking to one person, it is polite in French to use courtesy titles when you say hello, as in:   Bonjour, madame  (Mrs.)Bonjour, monsieur  (Mr.)Bonjour,  mademoiselle  (Miss) Its acceptable to say bonjour by itself- without using courtesy titles- if you are greeting several people, such as when you enter une boulangerie  (a bakery) packed with a line of customers. Bonsoir- The Evening Hello Use bonsoir  to say hello in the evening. Since the  hour that nighttime arrives in France can vary greatly  depending on the season, generally start saying bonsoir around 6 p.m. You can also use bonsoir when you leave- so long as its still evening. Beware of Salut Salut (pronounced with a silent t) is commonly used in France, although it is extremely informal: Its the equivalent of saying hey in English.  Avoid using salut  with people you dont know unless you are a teenager. If you are in doubt, stick with bonjour, which- as noted- is always an acceptable form of greeting. You can also use salut  to say goodbye  in an informal setting among close friends, but there are better ways to  say goodbye in French. Gestures Associated With Bonjour If you say bonjour to a group of strangers- such as when you are  entering a shop- you need not add any gestures, though you may nod your head a bit, and of course smile. If you know the person you are greeting with bonjour, you would either shake his hand- a frank, strong handshake is preferable- or kiss him on the cheek.  Light kisses  (rarely just one kiss on each cheek but usually three or four total) are extremely common in France among friends and acquaintances. Be aware, however, that the  French do not hug  upon greeting each other and saying  bonjour.

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