We’ll get right down to business by saying there is no way to say “good morning” in French!
At least not a direct equivalent. The French still greet one another at the start of the day and ask how well someone has slept.
They just don’t have a morning-specific greeting, instead, they simply say “hello”, or “hi” or inquire as to how you’ve rested. If you have read our greetings article you will probably recognize a handful of the phrases gathered today.
Needless to say, with no definite way to say “good morning” in French, this article will be a short read. But we have included a section with some ways to personalize your “bonjour”.
Saying “Good Morning” in French – An Overview
|Tu as bien dormi ?/Vous avez bien dormi ?
|Did you sleep well?
|Good morning (French Canadian)
How to Say “Good Morning” in French
Although it might seem a little formal for first thing in the morning, the go-to greeting for “Good morning” in French is “bonjour”. The word “bon” means “good” and”jour” is day” so there really isn’t a better way to say it.
It is apt for use with those you know well and not so well, like the hotel staff when you awake on holiday.
For those people that you know a little better, you can add to the greeting to make it more personal.
We will take a look at some pet names and terms of endearment later on in his article, to help you do exactly that!
“Bonjour” is so regularly used it isn’t considered strictly formal, but if you want something that is notably more relaxed, then you could use “salut” the French word for “hi” instead.
If you are using it first thing in the day, you could think of it as similar to the way we might casually shorten “good morning” to “morning” in close company.
But remember if you don’t know the person well, you should probably stick with Bonjour.
If you are watching any modern French TV (a great way to learn language by exposure) then you may have heard characters use “Salut toi”. You need to be careful with this one, as it is often used the morning after a romantic night!
The loose translation is “hey you!” or “hey there” it comes with insinuation as it can be considered a pretty flirtatious way to say “good morning”.
You have to be careful with your delivery, depending on the manner you say it could come across as anything. It can be said innocently, making it humorous, cute, or rather more seductive.
Strangely, although you will hear it used like a pick-up line between adults, you will also find it is used with children and even family pets in this case it is on the cutesy side rather than the flirty side.
Tu as bien dormi ?/Vous avez bien dormi ?
Another phrase you are likely to encounter in place of “good morning” is “did you sleep well?” In French, there is a formal and informal way to ask this.
With friends and family “Tu as bien dormi?” will be used but in a formal setting like a hotel it will be “Vous avez bien dormi?”
It is a useful phrase if you are playing host, or staying somewhere away from home.
Another way to wish someone a good morning is with the phrase “bonne journée”.
The difference between “Bonjour” and “Bonne journée” is sort of the length of time it covers. Saying “bonne journée” covers the whole day.
While you might think “bonne matinée” might be a better substitute for “good morning” than “bonne journée “, you should be aware the phrase is rarely used without being part of a larger statement.
It is far less commonly used than a simple bonjour but you may hear the following;
- “Passe/z une bonne matinée” (“have a nice morning”).
- “Je vous souhaite une bonne matinée. (“I wish you a good morning” / “I hope you have a good morning”).
While the French have no exact translation for “good morning” French Canadians do!
In recent times they have taken to using “Bon matin” inspired by the English greeting.
It is what we refer to as an Anglicization, it would be understood in France but is rarely used there.
But in Quebec, among younger demographics, this isn’t the case.
Unless you are specifically in Quebec you probably should refrain from using it though.
The French have many deep debates over the degradation of their language within linguistic society. You will never hear it in Europe and the phrase isn’t even totally accepted by all Francophone communities in Canada.
As we mentioned, bonjour can be personalized with terms of endearment, here are a few you can place after the word to greet with a little more emotional attachment;
- “Bonjour mon amour” (“good morning, my love” / “good morning love”)
- “Bonjour ma chérie” (“good morning sweetheart/darling” (to a woman))
- “Bonjour mon chér” (“good morning sweetheart/darling” (to a man))
- “Bonjour ma belle” (“good morning beautiful” (to a woman))
- “Bonjour mon beau” (“good morning handsome” (to a man))
Bonjour, comment allez-vous?
You could also add a formal how are you? To greet someone in the morning with “Bonjour, comment allez-vous?” Or more casually with “bonjour, ça va?” which is more like “morning, how’s it going?”
Good Morning in French – Final Thoughts
Learning to say “Good morning” in French with us may not have been as cut and dry as you thought it might be. Without direct translation (neglecting in Quebec it isn’t as black and white. But with luck, you now know exactly how to get around it.
If you are anything like me, you may find in your own home that little more than a nod or a massive yawn and stretch is exchanged in the mornings!
Though there is no perfect way to say “Good morning” in French it is still customary to greet your family, and friends when the day begins.
As you’ve learned, this is typically said with a “Bonjour” but now you have a few more ways to go about it.