How to Talk to French People

Good manners are important to everyone, in every culture. Good manners can make the difference between your request being fulfilled or denied. Loving and practicing good manners is very true for Frenchmen. Good manners and phone etiquette is of the utmost importance to the French when speaking on the phone. People from France have very strong opinions about being polite. If you find that a Frenchmen is rude he/she is probably reacting to a foreigner’s disposition that has offended them. It is best to learn how to prevent these instances from occurring rather than trying to apologize profusely after you have offended someone. If you know the basic expectations of the French, then you can avoid the stigma of being a rude and ugly American. Here’s how to talk to a Frenchmen properly.


If you don’t speak the French language always preface what you’re going to with an announcement that you don’t speak English and an apology. Although it is common for French people to speak English, never automatically assume they do. Try to at least memorize small phrases and niceties. These phrases include, ‘Bon Jour’ (hello) and ‘Merci’ (thank you). The French will appreciate the extra effort being made.


When speaking to a Frenchmen over the phone, they expect for you to tell who you are and identify the person who you called. Also, confirm that you reached the right person before you begin to go into any requests. Remember to inquire about the well being of the person you are speaking with.


It is considered very impolite to say things like “I want to speak to Bob’ or “Can you tell me if..?” The Frenchmen make a habit of as questions in a different way. “I would like to speak to Bob” or “I was wondering if you could tell me if..?” Soften the way you intend to ask a question when you are talking to a Frenchmen.

Polite Words

To a Frenchman “please” is the magic word. You can never say please enough. Any request should begin or end with “s’il vous plait” (if you please). It doesn’t matter if the request is big or small.


Lower your voice when speaking to Frenchmen. It is hard to realize your own habits at times. Americans ordinarily speak louder than French people. This can be extremely irritating to French people. So when you are speaking to the French make sure you speak in a softer tone. If not, they will consider that as yelling at them. If this is in public people passing by will also notice and not appreciate the loud talk.

Filed Under: General How To's


About the Author: Bruno Silva is an entrepreneur from Portugal with over 15 years of experience in Online Marketing. He is also a blogger and writes on variety of topics from online marketing to designs, cars to loans, etc.

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