Thank You in French

Valorie Delp
thank you

The standard way to say "thank you" in French is Merci (pronounced mair see). Of course when it comes to expressing gratitude, the French are generous and gracious. Read on to find out more about French culture along with useful French phrases when saying "thank you" in this language.

Basic Phrases to Say Thank You in French

For when "merci" just isn't enough. . .

Expressions of Thankfulness
French Pronunciation Translation
Remercier quelqu'un ruh mair see ay ah kell kuhn To thank someone
Dieu merci dee uh mair see Thank God or thank heavens
Grâce à grahss ah Thanks to
Reconnaissant (e) de reh con eh sont duh Thankful as in grateful
Soulagé (e) soo lah zhay Thankful as in relieved
Avec soulagement ah vek soo lazh mohn Thankfully (with a sense of relief)
Avec reconnaissance ah vek ruh cohn eh sohns Thankfully (with a sense of gratefulness)
Ingrat(e) ehn grah (t) Ungrateful, ingrate
Action de grâce ah xee ohn duh grahss Thanksgiving (the act of thanksgiving)
Merci beaucoup mair see bo coo Thank you very much
Merci bien mair see bee ehn Thanks a lot (sometimes sarcastic)
Je vous remercie zhuh voo ruh mair see I thank you
C'est gentil de ta part say gehn teel duh tah pahr That's kind of you
Merci d'avance mair see dah vahns Thank you in advance (like at the end of a letter)

Which Preposition Do You Use?

As a brief refresher, a preposition is a word that links the subject of the sentence to the object of the sentence. In the case of thanking someone, if you were to say:
Thank you for the gift.

The subject is thank you (technically the subject is I as in I thank you), the object of the sentence is the gift, and the word that brings it all together (the preposition) is for. In English, for is generally used when thank someone whether you are thanking someone for doing something or thanking someone for something:

  • Thank you for cleaning out the garage.
  • Thank you for the cookies.

In French, this is not the case. Which preposition you use depends on what you are thanking for, and the verb you use to express that thanks. In general, the rules are as follows:

  • Use de when you are thanking someone for something abstract or for doing something for you.
  • Use pour when you are thanking someone for something tangible, like a gift.
  • Certain verbs require that you use à.

Examples: Pour

Here are a few examples of how you should use the preposition pour when thanking someone:Merci pour le cadeau. Thank you for the gift.

Merci pour le pizza. Thank you for the pizza.

Examples: De

Here are a few examples of how you should use the preposition de when thanking someone. Remember too, that de is combined with le to make du:

Merci d'être un si bon ami. (or bonne amie if you're speaking to a girl) Thank you for being such a good friend.

Merci de faire la vaiselle. Thank you for doing the dishes.

Merci du conseil. Thank you for the advice.

Examples: De

Some verbs are "incomplete" without their preposition. When you're learning these verbs, it's important to think of them with their preposition attached because you'll never see them any other way. In French, the verb to express gratitude that demands the preposition 'de' is remercier which means to thank. Here are a few examples:Soyez sûr de la remercier d'avoir réalisé un si bon travail. Be sure to thank her for doing such a good job.

Je vous remercie de m'avoir aidé. I thank you for helping.

Expressing Thanks in a Restaurant or Hotel: Tipping

What lets your server know that you appreciate him more than a generous tip? However, unlike in the United States where a tip is left entirely up to the patron, in France, it is law to include the gratuity on the bill. Therefore, tipping is done entirely differently in France.

If the service was good, it is customary to round out your bill to the next dollar and leave the change. If the restaurant is particularly inexpensive, it is customary to leave about 5% of the bill as a tip.

When you're at your hotel, it is customary to give some change to the porter who carries your bags as well as the cloak room attendant and the chambermaid. However, be careful to look for signs that say "Pourboir Interdit" which means that tipping is forbidden.

Thank You in French