"How are you?" in French

How do you say "How are you?" in French – and how do you reply? This free French audio lesson gives you some useful French words and phrases to pack in your French language survival kit.
 
You’ll also learn the formal and informal French for asking people how they are – important stuff if you want to make the right first impression.
 
And just in case you need to apologize… you’ll learn how to say sorry in French as well!

After you greet someone, you’ll want to ask how they are or how’s it going. Here are some common questions that follow a greeting.

How to say "How are you?" in French

For friends or family:

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Comment ça va ?
How are you? (formally)
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Ça va ?
How are you?

For strangers or more senior people:

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Comment allez-vous ?
How are you?

What do you say if someone asks you one of these questions?

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Bien, Merci.
Well, thanks.
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Très bien.
Very well.
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Comme toujours.
As always.
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Un peu fatigué (e).
A little tired.
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Je suis malade.
I’m sick.
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Comme-ci comme-ca.
So-so.
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Pas trop mal.
Not bad.
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Mal.
Bad.
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Tout va bien.
All good.
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Assez bien.
Quite good.

A common follow-up question is, "And you?", "Et toi?" or more formally "et vous?"

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Et vous ?
And you? (formal)
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Et toi ?
And you?

If someone tells you that he or she is not feeling well you could say the following…

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Je suis désolé(e).
I’m sorry.

If someone is feeling great you might want to say the following…

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Je suis content(e) d’entendre que tout va bien.
Nice to hear.

The above words are extremely important. From experience, I know that the most important phrase in any language is how to say you’re sorry! Others disagree. They say that there are THREE important phrases that you absolutely must know in any language. They are:

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Je suis désolé(e).
I’m sorry
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Je t’aime.
I love you
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J’ai besoin d’aide.
I need help

Hmm, I can’t think of a situation in which I’d need to use all three, but I’ll leave it to your imagination! That’s it for today’s lesson.

À bientôt!
Marie-Claire Rivière and the Rocket French Team

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