Sometimes it’s the simple things that trip you up when speaking French. Saying goodbye, for example, might seem like an easy enough thing to do. But there are numerous phrases for it and, believe it or not, it is possible to use the wrong one!
Here are some ways to say goodbye (or otherwise end a conversation) in French:
- Au revoir. (Oh reh-vwah) This is the most common ways of saying goodbye in French, and it’s acceptable for the vast majority of situations, formal and informal. It literally means “until we each see each other again.
- Bonne journée / Bonne soirée. (Bun zhoor nay / Bun swah ray) These phrases mean: “Have a good day/ Have a good evening,” respectively, and they are typical ways of ending a conversation. You are acceptable in formal and informal settings. For example, it’s common to use it when ending a conversation with a client, or leaving a store or restaurant.
- À tout à l’heure. (Ah too tah leuhr). This means “see you later.” This phrase is used if you will see the person later in the day. It’s acceptable in both formal and informal situations.
- À plus tard (Ah plue tahr). This phrase also means “see you later” but is only used in more informal circumstances. You may also hear it said as “à plus” (ah plue-ss), which is just an abbreviation. In informal emails, you may see it written as A+.
- À bientôt (Ah bee yen toe). This is general ways of saying “see you soon.” You’d use it formally or casually, when you know you’ll be seeing the person soon. If you’re seeing the person within a matter of hours, you could say: À très bientôt. (See you very soon).
- À tout de suite (Ah too deh sweet). Here’s yet another way of saying “see you very soon.” The key distinction is that you’d only say it when you’re seeing the person immediately following your conversation. For example, if you were having a conversation with a friend about where to meet, and you were planning to meet right afterwards, you could end the conversation with “à tout de suite.”
- À la prochaine (Ah la prosh-enne). This phrase means “until next time” or “see you next time.” Unsurprisingly, it’s used when you’re unsure of when you’re going to see the other person again.
- À demain (A deh-mahn). This phrase means “until tomorrow” or “see you tomorrow.” Naturally, it’s for use when you’re certain of seeing the person you’re speaking to tomorrow.
- Salut (Sah-lou). This is a very casual way of saying goodbye (or rather, ‘bye!) in French. Note that it also means “hi!”
- Au plaisir de vous revoir (Oh pleh zir de vu reh-vwah) It’s a way to say goodbye in a warm way. It is expressed by « looking forward to seeing you again »
- Bonne continuation (bun cun ti nu a cion) It is used when you know that you will not see the person within the next few months / years.
- Adieu (Ah d’yew) Use this rather somber goodbye word only when you know you will never see the person again. Literally, it means “until God,” which gives you a strong clue as to the sense of finality it imparts.
Here are some informal greetings to say between friends :
- On s’appelle (on sa pel) This is a very common way to end a discussion and say goodbye. It can be translated as « let’s keep in touch » in English.
- On se tient au courant (on se ti un o curan) like « on s’appelle”, it’s a way to say « let’s keep in touch ».
- A tout’ (Ah toot) This is a contraction of « à tout de suite » or « à tout l’heure ». In an informal context, you can use this shorter expression “à tout”. This is a common expression used in spoken French.
- A un de ces quatre (Ah deh seh kaht reu) This is a casual way to say goodbye in French. You can use “à un de ces quatre” which means « see you ».
- A plus (Ah pe lus) As an alternative to « à plus tard, », you can use this shorter colloquial expression. Remember to pronounce the -s in the word « plus ».
- Tchao / Tchuss It is the equivalent of ‘ciao’ in Italian and ‘tschüss’ in German but pronounced the French way.
- Bise (biz) Family or close friends often use this expression to say goodbye.
- Bisous (bi zu) Family or close friends often use this expression to say goodbye.