Lesson 3 – Greetings, Goodbyes, & Names

Leçon 3 – Greetings, Goodbyes, & Names


Greetings in French are based on the person being spoken to, just as I went over in our last lesson Tu or Vous. There are formal, and informal ways of saying hello and goodbye to people.

  • Formal greetings: Bonjour; you will say to someone of authority such as a teacher or a boss, an elderly person, and to strangers. Bonjour literally means good day, and corresponds to hellogood morningor good afternoon. In the evening, bonjour is replaced with bonsoir (good evening).
  • Informal greetings: They follow the rules of tu 

Salut – Hi, Hey

Ça va – What’s up

Coucou – Hey, Hey there


Same as greetings, saying goodbyes follow the same rules for both formal and in formal.

  • Formal goodbyeAu revoir literally means “to see again”. Bonsoir is also used as a goodbye if departing in the evening.
  • Informal goodbyes: Ciao, we all recognise ciao! It means goodbye.

There are different ways to say goodbye:

  1. A bientôt – See you soon
  2. A tout à l’heure – See you soon (if planning on seeing that person very soon)
  3. A demain – See you tomorrow

Finding Out Someone’s Name

Same rules with formal and informal apply.

  • Formal: Comment vous applez-vous? – What is your name? (Literally, “What do you call yourself?”)
  • Informal: Comment t’appelles-tu? – What is your name. Same as the formal, yet notice the different spellings and the use of tu.

Here’s a bit of dialogue to go over what we just learned. One’s a formal greeting, and the other an informal greeting. Can you tell which one is which?

Julie: Salut, Rémi.

Rémi: Salut, Julie. Ça va?

Julie: Ça va. Et toi?

Rémi: Pas mal, merci.

Julie: Ciao!

Rémi: A bientôt!

Christine: Bonjour, Madame Gautier. Comment-allez vous?

Mme Gautier: Bonjour, Christine. Très bien, et vous?

Christine: Très bien!

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