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Ways to Say Yes In French

 

Every language is rich with subtleties and nuances, and French is no different.  Even something as simple as "YES" can be said in a surprising number of ways.  Each month we'll add another way to say "YES" in French, so come back regularly to check on the list.  Can you imagine how many more variations we will discover?

 

Oui

Of course, we'll start with the obvious .. Oui.  This is the general way to say "yes" in French and will work perfectly fine in most situations where you would use "yes" in English.  But if you want to add some variety and finesse into your French language skills, and sound less like you're reading from a text book, then read on ..

 

Si

 This is used when you want to contradict someone. They have mistakenly made an assumption and you want to correct them.

Tu ne l'as pas fait ? (You didn't do it?)  Si, je l'ai fait . (Yes, I did it.)

We don't have a similar translation in English, which can lead to confusion.  In English, if we simply answer the question above with "yes", it's not clear if we mean, yes, I didn't do it .. or yes I did it. In French, with "si", the intention is very clear.

 

Annoyed Yes in French

You're asked an annoying question, something that should be obvious or perhaps you've already answered this question many times before.  You're frustrated, irritated. In English you could convey this with your tone of voice.  In French, using these words will make it more obvious that you're not happy.

Mais oui .. or .. Ben oui!

Tu as fini ton rapport?  (Have you finished your report?)   Ben oui!  Combien de fois dois-je te dire?  (Yes! How many times do I have to tell you?)

Just remember that using these phrases in French can be intepreted as being rude, so use them carefully.

 

 Ways to Say Yes in French

An all purpose way of saying you agree with someone is d'accord which means you are "in accordance" with them.  It loosely translates as “alright” or "okay". With close friends it may even be shortened to d'acc

However, beware of this trap using d'accord for a general translation of "okay"! If you were asked, "How is school?" and you wanted to say "It's okay", you can't say "C'est d'accord."  Remember d'accord is only used when you mean "I agree" or "I accept".

 In a more formal setting, if you want to agree with someone, you may choose to use one of the following:

  • Vous avez raison.
  • Je suis d'accord avec vous.

 

 5

Sometimes you want to reinforce that what someone has said is correct.  Something a little stronger than a simple "yes" is called for.  You can give them definite confirmation with these statements:

Tout à fait or Exactement - meaning "absolutely, exactly, completely or that's right"
En Effet - meaning "indeed"

Perfectly suited to this conversation:

- Nous devrions avoir un verre de vin.  (We should have a glass of wine.)
Tout à fait.  (Absolutely!)

 

 Say Yes in French

To show you agree with a statement or question, here are some very polite ways of doing so.  Completely appropriate in all social settings.

Volontiers
Avec plaisir
Certainement

So when you're having afternoon tea with your new boyfriend's parents, this exchange will put you in their good books:

Voulez-vous boire quelque chose ?  Would you like something to drink?
Volontiers !  Yes, please!

 

Say Yes in French

This one is my favourite .. and so useful!  Ça Marche actually means "That runs", but in everyday speech, it's a casual way of saying, "That works for me".  It's usually used with family and friends or people you are familiar with.

On va manger chez Phillipe?  - We're going to eat at Phillip's house?

Ça marche.  - Yes, that's works for me.

And you can also use it when something isn't working:

Ça ne marche pas. - It's broken / it doesn't work / that doesn't suit me.

 

Ways to Say Yes in French

Sometimes everything works in your favour and the Universe delivers something to you that is exactly what you want .. it's absolutely perfect.  In this situation, a mere "yes" just doesn't seem enough.  Try these options instead ..

Vous aimez votre cadeau ?  Do you like your gift?

Oui, c’est parfait.  Yes, it's perfect.
Oui, c’est très bien.  Yes, it's very good.

 

Ways to Say Yes in French

The answer to some questions is obvious!  Would you like to spend more time in France?  Can I pass you the cheese? Would you like to a complimentary upgrade to first class? Do you like chocolate? 

In these situations, a simple "yes" may not be enough.  Here are some other options:

Bien sûr.  Of course.

Evidemment.  Obviously.

 

 Ways to Say Yes in French

This is a yes but with almost no enthusiasm and a whole lot of doubt thrown in!  In fact, it’s probably closer to a no than a yes.  For those occasions, the French use .. Mouais.

Voulez-vous aller chez ta tante pour Noël?

Mouais.

It’s pretty clear that you really don’t want to go to your aunt’s house for Christmas .. let’s be honest!  But for some reason, you feel obliged to say yes.

C'est quand même mieux qu’une robe blanche, non ?

Mouais.

You are agreeing that it is so much better than that white dress, but your reply has no enthusiasm and is full of doubt.  Saying yes, but really meaning no.

 

To be continued .. 

 

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