Vocabulary

How To Say Please


Nothing is easy in French. Not even the word for please!

For starters, there are two ways to say it. One way for addressing strangers and elders:

S'il vous plaît

and another for family and friends:

S'il te plaît

Did you notice anything? No hyphen. And a hat shape accent – called circonflexe -  on the i.

But, you may wonder, why is it “te” and not “tu“, and why so many words just for a simple “Please“? Let’s take another look:

if it pleases you

What happens is that the te means to you, and not you subject. Nobody thinks of it in terms of separate words, but as a one single expression.

siouplait

.

You use S’il te plaît /seal tuh play/ with family, friends, co-workers sometimes, anyone you would say tu to:

veux-tu un café

.

You use S’il vous plaît /seal voo play/ with strangers, customers, superiors, elders, anyone you normally use vous with, as well as when speaking to more than one person.

votre attention

.

… and when you get what you were asking for, don’t forget to say…

merci

.

© Ouicestca 2013, tous droits réservés.

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