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5 Different ways to say “Hello” in French

Most students and novice speakers might think that it is “Bonjour”, and don’t get me wrong it is very common and widely used, but different social settings call for different ways of saying “hello”. We will be explaining the 5 most common ways of saying “hello” in French.

1) The most common way to say Hello – “Bonjour”.


Saying “Bonjour” is the most popular and common way of saying hello. After saying hello the French will usually give a firm handshake or a kiss on both cheeks. unlike in the United States, hugging is not practiced to greet someone.

2) A more formal way of saying “Hello” in French.


A more polite and formal way of saying “Bonjour” is if immediately followed with “Madame” (for a lady) “Monsieur” (for a man) or “Mademoiselle” (for a younger woman.)

3) How to say “Hi” in French.


The more relaxed and informal way of saying “Hello” is “Salut”. But this term can get a little tricky. Unlike, “Hi”, a word an American can comfortably say to greet a stranger like a mailman or a store clerk, “Salut” is only used to casually greet friends and peers.

4) What does “Coucou” mean in French?


It is hard to give an exact translation because there isn’t one. “Coucou” is used to greet friends and family. Although there is no exact translation, the British English word “Toodaloo” resembles it the most. The only major difference between these two terms is that “Toodaloo” is more commonly used to say goodbye, whilst “Coucou” is used to say hello.

5) How to say “Hello” in French but only on the phone.


There is pretty much only one way a French speaker would answer the phone, and that is by saying “Allô”. It is usually said with a rising questioning voice “Allô?” and after you might say it again “Allô, bonjour, c’est Camille”… or skip it “Bonjour, c’est Camille”.


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