If you have just started to learn French, there are a few polite phrases that you will find useful for managing daily exchanges, like ways to say “thank you” or “I’m sorry” in French. The same goes when you need to end a conversation by saying goodbye.
It may seem straightforward enough, but there are actually many different ways to say goodbye in French, depending on the situation and the degree of formality that is required. To help you along and give you enough choices, we have listed 13 expressions to say goodbye in French.
- Au revoir
- Bye bye
- À la prochaine
- À un de ces quatre
- À bientôt
- À plus tard
- À tout à l’heure
- À tout de suite
- À demain
- À lundi
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1. Au revoir
Literally meaning “to seeing again”, au revoir is the most straightforward way to say goodbye in French. You can use it in pretty much any spoken context, on its own or followed by the name or first name of the person you’re talking to. The word is so common it’s even used in the French version of Auld Lang Syne: Ce n’est qu’un au revoir (it’s only a goodbye).
In a slightly more poetic way, adieu literally means “to god”, although it better translates as “farewell”. It’s used when you don’t expect to meet somebody again any time soon, or just if you fancy being a bit dramatic…
In a strange twist, salut can be used both to say hello and to say bye in French. It’s also a little less formal than au revoir. And as such, it’s mostly used with friends and family members.
As an alternative to salut, the Italian word ciao is commonly used to say goodbye in a somewhat more exotic way in French.
5. Bye bye
After Italian, it’s English’s turn. For no apparent reason, it’s common to double the word bye to say goodbye in an informal way in French.
6. À la prochaine
Instead of or in addition to “goodbye”, it’s quite common to use a phrase like “see you next time” or “see you again” in French. Such is à la prochaine, a short version of à la prochaine fois.
7. À un de ces quatre
Literally meaning “to one of these four”, à un de ces quatre is used to say “see you one of these days”. This is typically used when you expect to see someone sometime fairly soon without having any definite plan.
8. À bientôt
The expression à bientôt is the exact equivalent of “see you soon” in French. You can use it in speaking but also in writing, particularly in French emails.
9. À plus tard
Sometimes reduced to simply à plus, the phrase à plus tard means “see you later” in French and tends to be used when you expect to see the person again within the same day.
10. À tout à l’heure
Used in similar contexts as à plus tard, the expression à tout à l’heure also corresponds to “see you later” in French. It’s quite common to abbreviate it to à tout (to be pronounced “ah toot”).
11. À tout de suite
If, for instance, you only leave a room for a few minutes, you can excuse yourself by saying à tout de suite (see you shortly).
12. À demain
By now, you may have guessed that you can use the preposition à with an expression of time, to say “see you [sometime]”. The same is true of à demain, which means “see you tomorrow”.
13. À lundi
Once again, you can use the preposition à to say “see you” with any days of the week:
|À lundi||See you Monday|
|À mardi||See you Tuesday|
|À mercredi||See you Wednesday|
|À jeudi||See you Thursday|
|À vendredi||See you Friday|
|À samedi||See you Saturday|
|À dimanche||See you Sunday|
See you again soon to discover more useful vocabulary in French
It’s time to say goodbye in French using one of the 13 expressions we learned. Hopefully, now you’ll be able to continue on your journey to learn French and extend your vocabulary with more useful and common expressions for everyday life.
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Anne-Lise is a translator and copywriter working for various industries, such as hospitality and travel, as well as health and well-being. Settled down in London since the end of her university years, she cannot get enough of the exceptional cultural life in the English capital city, starting with theater, be it to see a new West End show or to roll up her sleeves with her amateur drama group. She is also interested in photography, as her Instagram profile shows. She indulges her passion for languages in a translation blog she writes with other linguist friends. Go to her Linkedin page to know more about her background and her professional experience.