All About ‘Bon’

Today’s post is all about colloquialisms with the word Bon. We all know that “bon” is an adjective that means “good” or “nice”, but it is also used in different ways in conversation.

Bon can be used to begin a conversation or end a thought before beginning another. It’s used the same way that “ok” is used in English.

  • Bon, tu tournes à gauche au coin de la rue, puis tu continues tout droit.
  • Ok, You turn left at the corner, then continue straight ahead.
  • Après avoir cherché un hôtel pendant une heure, j’en ai trouvé un. Bon, je suis prête pour le voyage.
  • After having looked for a hotel for an hour, I found one. Ok, I am ready for my trip.

Bon can be used to express anger or resentment. In cases like this, it would be the equivalent to the English word “fine”.

  • Vous voulez pas m’augmenter? Bon, je vous quitte!
  • You don’t want to give me a raise? Fine, I quit!

Bon + ben

Often, bon ben is used at the end of a statement when the speaker has nothing more to say.

  • Bon ben, je m’en vais. Au revoir!
  • Alright, I’m out of here. Bye!

Ah + bon = Ah, bon?

When used as a question, bon takes on the meaning of “really?” when preceded by “Ah”.*

  • La semaine prochaine, je vais aller en France.
  • Ah, bon?
  • Next week I’m going to France.
  • Really?

*When used in question form, ah bon does not mean “ah, good” even though that is the literal translation. Therefore it is correct to use Ah, bon when receiving bad news.

  • Mon grand-père est très malade.
  • Ah, bon?
  • My grandfather is very sick.
  • Really?
  • Hier, j’ai eu un accident sérieux.
  • Ah bon?
  • Yesterday I had a bad accident.
  • Really?

I hope this helps any questions you may have had regarding this word and these phrases in which it is used. As always, let me know if you have any questions.

Merci à vous !



6 thoughts on “All About ‘Bon’

  1. I have heard “Ah, bon”used many times and did not know it simply means really in certain contexts. I DID wonder why a French neighbour said “Ah, bon” when I told her my husband nearly died in 2014!!!!
    Courtney, do you teach as well as blog about French?

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