Bonjour! A Beginner’s Guide to Saying Hello in French


Bonjour! Welcome to a Beginner’s Guide to Saying Hello in French. Learning how to greet someone in a foreign language is not only polite, but it also helps to break down language barriers and connect with people on a personal level. Saying hello in French is especially important as it is the foundation of polite conversation in French-speaking countries. Here we will go over the different ways to say hello in French, how to pronounce them, and when to use them.

“Bonjour! A Beginner’s Guide to Saying Hello in French”

The most common way to say hello in French is “Bonjour” which means “Good day.” Pronounced as “bohn-zhoor,” remember to stress the “j” and the “u” sounds. It is the most formal way of greeting someone in French and is suitable for any situation.

TIP: When saying “Bonjour,” use it as a standalone greeting and not as a phrase like “Bonjour, comment ça va?” which is considered impolite as it is too informal.

French 101: The Top Ways to Greet Someone in French

While “Bonjour” is the most commonly used greeting, there are other French greetings that you should know. These additional greetings will make you sound more fluent in French and help you connect better with native speakers.

“Salut” is the informal equivalent of “Bonjour” which means “Hi” or “Hello.” Pronounced as “sa-loo,” use this greeting with friends or people you know well. “Coucou” is even more informal and is used just between close friends or family members. It is pronounced as “coo-coo.”

“Bonsoir” is another way to say hello in French, but it is used only in the evening or at night. It is pronounced as “bohn-swahr” and means “Good evening.”

Mastering French Greetings: From “Salut” to “Coucou”

Using the appropriate greeting is crucial in French and depends on many factors such as who you are greeting or the setting you’re in. While using “Bonjour” is appropriate in any situation, other greetings require consideration of the context.

If you are greeting someone who is older than you or of a higher rank, use “Bonjour” instead of “Salut” or “Coucou”. Also, use “Bonjour” when greeting customers or people you don’t know very well. It is more respectful and shows proper politeness in French etiquette.

On the other hand, use “Salut” or “Coucou” for your friends and family members, or people you know well. They are great for casual conversations and generally used as a sign of intimacy and closeness with someone.

A Quick and Easy Guide to Saying Hello in French

Here’s a quick breakdown of the French greetings you just learned:

  • Bonjour: Formal greeting for everyone
  • Salut: Informal greeting for friends or people you know well
  • Coucou: Casual greeting just for close friends or family members
  • Bonsoir: Evening and nighttime greeting

Now that you know the different ways to say hello in French, you might want to download this cheat-sheet for quick reference when you need it.

Beyond “Bonjour”: How to Say Hello in Different Situations in French

There are other greetings that are good to know based on the situation you are in. Here are some examples:

“Salut les copains!” – Use this greeting when you meet a group of friends.

“Bon appétit!” – French people usually greet each other with “Bon appétit” before starting a meal.

“Enchanté!(e)” – After introducing yourself to someone, you can use “Enchanté!” as an additional greeting. It is pronounced as “on-shan-tay” and means “Delighted to meet you!”

French Greetings: Saying Hello in Style

Greetings in French are not only about being polite but also about expressing yourself in style. French people use intonation and inflection to convey different attitudes and emotions. For instance, if you say “Bonjour” with a rising tone, it will sound like a question and mean “Are you having a good day?” On the other hand, if you say “Bonjour” with a falling tone, it will mean “Good day.”


Congratulations! You just learned how to say hello in French in a variety of ways. Remember to adapt to the situation and consider the context of your conversation. Don’t be afraid to practice your French greetings, and show off your new knowledge with native speakers.

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