Ways To Say You In French

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Written By Jessica Knight

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

Are you planning a trip to France and want to brush up on your French language skills? Well, look no further! In this article, we will explore the various ways to say ‘you’ in French. Whether you’re speaking formally or informally, to a single person or a group, we’ve got you covered.

The formal singular form is ‘vous,’ while the informal singular form is ‘tu.’ For plural situations, both formal and informal, ‘vous’ is the way to go. Looking for a gender-neutral option? ‘On’ is your best bet.

Additionally, we’ll delve into the familiar and respectful forms, as well as the impersonal form, and even touch upon some regional variations. So, whether you’re planning a business meeting or making new friends in France, learning the different ways to say ‘you’ will certainly come in handy.

Let’s dive in and enhance your French language skills together!

Formal Singular: Vous

Vous, the formal way to say ‘you’ in French, is not just a linguistic formality but a reflection of respect and professionalism. Using ‘vous’ instead of ‘tu’ shows a level of courtesy and distance, making it suitable for formal situations, such as addressing superiors, strangers, or in professional settings.

It is important to remember that using ‘vous’ conveys a sense of respect and maintains a polite tone in French communication.

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Informal Singular: Tu

Imagine strolling through the beautiful streets of Paris, when suddenly a friendly local approaches and casually asks, “Tu viens d’où?”

In French, ‘tu’ is the informal singular form of ‘you.’ It is used when speaking to someone familiar or of a similar age. Unlike the formal ‘vous,’ ‘tu’ is used when speaking to friends, family, or children.

Remember to use ‘tu’ when interacting with someone on a more personal level in French.

Formal Plural: Vous

While strolling through the enchanting streets of Paris, one may encounter locals who greet them with the polite form of address, ‘vous’.

In French, ‘vous’ is used to address a group of people or to show respect to someone older or in a higher position. It is important to use ‘vous’ when speaking to someone you don’t know well or in formal situations.

So, remember to use ‘vous’ to show politeness and respect in French conversations.

Informal Plural: Vous

Strolling through the charming streets of Paris, one may come across locals who greet them with the informal plural form of address, ‘vous’.

In French, ‘vous’ is used to address a group of people or when speaking to someone in a formal manner.

It is important to note that ‘vous’ can also be used to show respect or politeness. So, if you find yourself in a situation where someone addresses you with ‘vous’, it’s best to respond in the same way.

Gender-neutral: On

As you wander through the picturesque streets of Paris, you may find yourself immersed in a culture where the gender-neutral term ‘on’ is used to address a group of people or when speaking in a formal manner.

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‘On’ is a versatile pronoun that can be used as both a subject and an object. It is often used in place of ‘nous’ (we) and ‘vous’ (you) to simplify speech.

So, when in France, don’t be surprised if you hear ‘on’ used frequently!

Polite form: Vous

Now, let’s explore the polite form of addressing someone in French: ‘Vous.’

When speaking to someone you don’t know well, someone older, or in a formal setting, it is customary to use ‘Vous’ instead of ‘Tu.’ This form shows respect and is considered more appropriate in professional and social situations.

By using ‘Vous,’ you acknowledge the person’s status and maintain a respectful distance.

Familiar form: Tu

Engaging in casual conversation with someone you know well? Then it’s time to use the familiar form of address in French: ‘Tu.’

When using ‘Tu,’ you drop the formalities and speak more informally. It’s common among friends, family members, and people of the same age.

Remember to use the corresponding verbs and pronouns. For example, instead of saying ‘Vous êtes’ (You are), you say ‘Tu es’ (You are).

Respectful form: Vous

Reserving a sense of formality, the respectful form ‘Vous’ in French creates an aura of respect and distance, as if two individuals were standing at opposite ends of a grand hall.

When addressing someone with ‘Vous,’ you show deference and acknowledge their status or age.

It is commonly used in formal situations, such as with strangers, older individuals, or in professional settings.

Using ‘Vous’ demonstrates politeness and maintains a level of respect.

Impersonal form: On

The impersonal form ‘On’ in French creates a sense of universality and detachment. It gives the impression that you are speaking about a general situation rather than addressing a specific individual. This form is commonly used in informal speech and writing, allowing for a more relaxed and casual tone.

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For example, instead of saying ‘You should always be polite,’ you can use ‘On doit toujours être poli.’ It’s important to note that ‘On’ conjugates verbs as third person singular.

Regional variations: Toi, Té, Ti, To, Tô

Moving on from the impersonal form ‘On’, let’s explore some regional variations of the second person pronoun in French.

In different parts of France, you may come across variations like ‘Toi’, ‘Té’, ‘Ti’, ‘To’, or ‘Tô’. These informal forms are commonly used in casual conversations among friends or family.

They add a touch of familiarity and can help you connect with locals on a more personal level.


In conclusion, there are several ways to say ‘you’ in French, depending on the formality and familiarity of the situation.

The formal singular form is ‘vous,’ while the informal singular form is ‘tu.’

The formal and informal plural forms are both ‘vous.’

For a gender-neutral option, ‘on’ can be used.

There are also regional variations such as ‘toi,’ ‘té,’ ‘ti,’ ‘to,’ and ‘tô.’

It is important to choose the appropriate form based on the context to ensure clear and respectful communication in French.

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