Saying "I miss you" is tricky in French because the order is different in English. Though the grammar may seem strange, the phrase is short and sweet, making it easy to learn.
Translation of "I Miss You"
Choose the correct phrase based on the nature of the relationship.
- If you want to tell a close friend or family member that you miss her, the correct phrase is tu me manques (pronounced too muh mahnk).
- If you want to say 'I miss you' to an acquaintance or to a group, you would say: vous me manquez (voo muh mahn-kay).
Common Grammar Pitfalls
Because of the way the verb manquer works in French, the following sentences are incorrect:
- Je manque toi: many beginning French students come up with this incorrect sentence
- Je te manque (pronounced zhuh tuh mahnk): this sentence is a correct French sentence, but the meaning is: 'you miss me', not 'I miss you.'
Additional Uses of Manquer
The verb manquer is not only used for saying you miss a person or thing in the emotional sense. You can also miss a bus (literally) or miss an opportunity:
- Vous avez manqué l'autobus. Prenez le prochain (vooz ah-vay mahn-kay lah ow-toe boos). ('You missed the bus. Take the next one.')
- Ne manque pas de nous visiter (nuh mahnk pah duh noo vee-zee-tay). Make sure to come visit us. (Literally: 'Don't fail to visit us.')
Manquer can also express that something is lacking:
- Ils manquent d'intelligence! (Eel mahnk din-tell-ee-ghehns) They lack intelligence!
Practicing a Phrase
This phrase can make students' heads spin if they try to think about the grammar of this verb in French vs. in English. For beginners, stick with learning the phrase along with other common phrases like 'I love you.' More advanced speakers can learn the complexities of the grammatical construction once they have mastered the everyday phrase and can use it without hesitation.