Basic phrases

Here are some basic French phrases which you can use in everyday conversation, as well as some common words you will see on signs.

s'il vous plaîtplease (polite)
mercithanks, thank you
merci beaucoupthank you very much

The following are some polite ways you can reply to someone who thanks you:

je vous en prieyou're welcome (polite)
de riennot at all

Saying hello and goodbye

Here are some different ways to greet people:

saluthi (informal)
bonjourhello (used during the morning and afternoon)
bonsoirgood evening (used after 6pm)

The following expressions, on the other hand, are some different things you can say when saying goodbye:

au revoirgoodbye
bonsoirgood evening
bonne nuitgoodnight
bonne soirée or bonne fin de soiréehave a good evening
à plus!see you!
salut!bye (informal)
à bientôt!see you soon!
à plus tard! or à tout à l'heure!see you later! (when you expect to see someone later in the day)
à demain!see you tomorrow!
bonne journée!have a nice day!
bon weekend!have a good weekend!

Getting someone's attention and apologising

excusez-moiexcuse me (polite) (can be used to get someone’s attention, to get past someone, or to apologise)
désolé(e) or pardonsorry

If someone apologises to you, you can reply using one of the following expressions:

pas de soucino problem
ce n'est pas graveit's OK (literally: it's not serious)
il n'y a pas de malit's OK
ce n'est rien or ça ne fait rienit's OK

Making yourself understood

tu parles anglais?do you speak English? (familiar)
vous parlez anglais?do you speak English? (polite)
vous parlez français?do you speak French? (polite)
je ne parle pas françaisI don't speak French
je ne parle pas très bien françaisI don't speak French very well
je parle un peu françaisI speak a little French
je parle juste un peu françaisI only speak very little French
je parle très mal françaisI speak French very badly
pourriez-vous parler plus lentement, s'il vous plaît?could you speak more slowly, please? (polite)
pourriez-vous me l'écrire, s'il vous plaît?could you write it down for me, please (polite)
pourriez-vous répéter cela, s'il vous plaît?could you please repeat that? (polite)
je comprendsI understand
je ne comprends pasI don't understand

Other basic phrases

je saisI know
je ne sais pasI don't know
excusez-moi, où sont les toilettes? or excusez-moi, où se trouvent les toilettes?excuse me, where's the toilet?

Things you might see

Sortie de secoursEmergency exit
Hors serviceOut of order
Interdiction de fumerNo smoking
Entrée interditeNo entry

Sound is available for all the French phrases on this page — simply click on any phrase to hear it.