How to say ‘I miss you’ in French

How to say ‘I miss you’ in French

by Anne-Lise Vassoille

Updated April 18, 2023

From the moment you say goodbye, you may feel like you’re already missing the person you’re leaving. But do you know how to express this emotion in French? Whether you’re missing a close friend or feeling the absence of the object of your love, there’s a sweet, poetic or straightforward way to say “I miss you” in French. Discover seven of the most common ones in this article.

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1. Tu me manques

This is, without a doubt, the most straightforward and common French phrase for “I miss you.” It even appears in one of the most famous quotes in French, courtesy of the French poet and statesman Alphonse de Lamartine:

Un seul être vous manque et tout est dépeuplé. (You miss just one person and everything is depopulated.)

If you’re a beginner in French, you’ll be happy to know that this phrase employs the regular -er verb manquer (to miss). But there is a bit of a trick: The order of the pronouns is inverted compared to English. So, instead of “I miss you,” the literal French phrase is “You’re missing to me.” 

Let’s look at these parallel examples:

Tu me manques. (I miss you.)

Je te manque. (You miss me.)

Two main things occur while building this expression.

1. In French, the object that is missed becomes the subject of the phrase. As shown in the example below, the object “me” moves to the front of the sentence and turns into the subject pronoun. This also means that the verb is conjugated based on the subject, or the person being missed. 

Je te manque.You miss me.
Tu me manques.I miss you.tu is the informal you, used when referring to one person only.
Il me manque.I miss him.
Elle me manque.I miss her.
Nous te manquons.You miss us.
Vous me manquez.I miss you.vous is either the plural form of you or the formal you when referring to one person only.
Ils me manquent.I miss them. Ils is the subject pronoun for a group of men only or for a mixed group of men and women.
Elles me manquent.I miss them.Elles is the subject pronoun for a group of women only.

2. What would be the subject of the sentence in English is now the indirect object and lands in second position, right before the verb. 

Il me manque.I miss him.
Il te manque.You miss him.
Il lui* manque.He/she misses him.
Il nous manque.We miss him.
Il vous manque.You miss him.
Il leur manque.They miss him.

* The indirect object pronoun lui can indicate either a man or a woman. The context determines whether it means “he” or “she.”

Once you get the hang of it, you can even stress your feeling with an adverb, for instance, to convey the idea of “I miss you so much” in French:

Tu me manques beaucoup.I miss you a lot.
Tu me manques déjà.I miss you already.
Tu me manques tellement.I miss you so much.

2. Ça me manque de + verb

This is another phrase with the verb manquer. This time we want to convey the idea of missing doing something, rather than missing a person or an object. As such, it’s followed by a verb in the infinitive:

Ça me manque de te parler. (I miss talking to you.)

Note the use of the pronoun Ça (That) to accommodate the specific structure required by the verb manquer. Ça merely serves as a filler to have a grammatical subject in the sentence. It stands for the element being missed, which comes after the verb. Looking at the example above, the construction goes like this: “That is missing to me to be talking to you”

As with the previous expression, this phrase includes the indirect object pronouns:

Ça me manque de te voir.I miss seeing you.
Ça te manque de parler français.You miss speaking French.
Ça lui manque de faire du sport.He/she misses doing sports.
Ça nous manque d’aller au restaurant.We miss going to the restaurant.
Ça vous manque de voyager.You miss traveling.
Ça leur manque d’habiter en France.They miss living in France.

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3. Je suis impatient.e de te voir

This phrase expresses the idea of missing someone by saying that you’re impatient to see them or that you can’t wait to see them. It uses the French adjective impatient, whose form changes depending on the number or gender:

Il est impatient de me voir. (He can’t wait to see me.)

Elle est impatiente de me voir. (She can’t wait to see me.)

Ils sont impatients de me voir. (They can’t wait to see me.)

Elles sont impatientes de me voir. (They can’t wait to see me.)

You can also use the phrase with any activity: 

Je suis impatient.e d’apprendre le français. (I can’t wait to learn French.)

4. J’ai hâte de te voir

Although this phrase belongs to a more formal register than Je suis impatient.e de te voir, it has the exact same meaning. A more literal translation would be “I have haste to see you,” which is why the verb avoir (to have) is part of the phrase.

As with Je suis impatient.e de, J’ai hâte de may be followed by any verb in the infinitive form:

J’ai hâte de visiter Paris. (I can’t wait to visit Paris.)

5. Vivement

Followed by a noun, the word vivement is also common to express the idea of impatience over something. The expression is so common that it’s even the title of a famous French talk show, Vivement Dimanche. Vivement can be followed by days of the week, an expression of time or any event you can’t wait for:

Vivement vendredi ! (Can’t wait for Friday!)

Vivement les vacances ! (Can’t wait for the holiday!)

Vivement ton retour ! (Can’t wait for your return!)

Alternatively, vivement can also be followed by que and a clause with a verb:

Vivement que tu reviennes ! (Can’t wait for you to return!)

Vivement qu’il parte ! (Can’t wait for him to leave!)

6. Ton absence me pèse

If you’re looking for a more formal and poetic way to say “I miss you” to your significant other, then you may want to learn Ton absence me pèse, which can be translated as “Your absence is weighing on me.” 

7. Ce n’est pas pareil sans toi

One more for the romantics out there, Ce n’est pas pareil sans toi is another way to say “I miss you” to the person you love. It can be translated as “It’s not the same without you.”

Don’t miss how to say “I miss you” in French 

Missing someone or something shows in many shapes and degrees of feeling. Thanks to these phrases, you’ll be comfortable sharing your feelings either formally or poetically. Now that you know how to say “I miss you” in French in seven different ways, don’t be shy and tell it out loud! 

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Anne-Lise Vassoille

Anne-Lise is a translator and copywriter working for various industries.. Settled down in London, 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.

Anne-Lise Vassoille

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