The French word for “yes” is oui. There are even more ways to say “yes” in French if you are learning the language and want to sound like a native speaker. These ways will surely make you sound like a native French speaker.
When we say ‘yes’ in English, we can replace it with plenty of different words such as ‘yeah’, ‘yep’, ‘okay’, ‘absolutely’, and ‘sure thing’ etc. Just like this, there are different ways to say ‘yes’ in French.
Here is a quick list of ways to say “yes” in French:
– “yes” in French: oui
– “yeah” in French: ouais
– “OK” in French: d’accord or OK (pronounced oké)
– “of course” in French: bien sûr
– “absolutely” in French: absolument
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“Yes” in French: Oui
French people will respond to your questions with oui, which means “yes”! But did you know that the double oui is also quite popular? To emphasize their affirmative response, the French will say oui, oui.
Consider how you would use “I do” in English when it isn’t necessary: Oui, oui, j’aime ça! (“Yes, I do like it!”).
The meaning of Mais Oui
Mais oui literally translates to “but yes”. This literal translation doesn’t make sense in English.
In most cases, mais oui is an interjection used to say “that’s right” or to highlight the oui. The mais (“but”) in this phrase does not translate into English. For example:
– Mais oui, c’est correct ! – “Yes, that’s right!”
– Mais oui, j’arrive – “Yes, I’m coming.”
“Yeah” in French: Ouais
Consider how frequently you use the word “yes” in English. Then consider how often you say “yeah” on a daily basis. You probably use “yeah” or “yep” more often than “yes” as your go-to lazy yes. In French, you would do the same thing with ouais.
“OK” in French: D’Accord
D’accord literally means “in agreement,” “alright” or “fine”. It is associated with the “proper” side of the French language.
If you are looking for the more common “okay,” look no further than “okay”. Using just ok has become very popular among the French. Oké is how we say it. There are several abbreviations for d’accord, the most common of which is d’acc. D’acc-o-dacc is less commonly used and serves as an additional comical affirmation.
If you are a French learner, you need to learn French grammar to structure your sentences properly. Learning grammar is equally important for both spoken and written French.
“Of Course” in French: Bien Sûr
Bien sûr in English would literally be “well sure” as bien is “good” or “well” and sûr is “sure”. But bien sûr is the French equivalent of “of course”.
Remember to include the circumflex accent on top of the u! Sur without the circumflex accent is “on,” and the phrase would be meaningless. Because it is only an accent, most French people avoid it in texts and messages. If French is not your first language, people will simply assume you can’t spell the word correctly and will correct you.
“Sure” in French: Pour Sûr
Pour sûr means “for sure” in English. It’s another way of saying sure things. You may not have heard much about pour sûr, and you may be wondering whether you should use it in a casual or formal setting.
While pour sûr is a little too formal for everyday use, it’s also not an expression you’d use in a formal conversation. It’s somewhere in the middle, which is probably why it’s not widely used. If you want to say “sure” as in English, use ouais or OK.
“Absolutely” in French: Absolument
After learning to say “for sure,” you must learn to say “absolutely” in French. You never know how affirmative you will need to be in the future. “Absolutely” is absolument in French. Isn’t it the same as the English word? You’re fortunate because it makes it even easier to remember.
If you are familiar with French grammar, you will recognize the adverb’s construction: adjective (absolu, “absolute”) and the suffix -ment. Cognates are words that are the same in both English and French. You can learn hundreds of French words in this manner. It’s an easy way to expand your French vocabulary.
“It’s Okay” in French: Ça Va or C’est Bon
Some ways to say “it’s okay” in French include ça va or c’est bon. Ça va literally translates to “it goes” in English. It is the short version of ça va bien (“it’s going well”). C’est bon means “it’s good”.
“To Nod” in French: Acquiescer
Sometimes saying “yes” doesn’t even require words. All you have to do is nod! “To nod” is acquiescer in French.
Acquiescer is a member of the first group of common French verbs that end in -er. Because first-group verbs are always regular, acquiescer’s conjugation is straightforward (for French conjugation).
However, keep an eye out for the ç cedilla. It appears before the vowels a, o, and u but not e and I because they already soften the c. This is why there is no ç in the acquiescer infinitive.
“Thumbs-Up” in French
A lot of our communication as humans depends on body language, so it only makes sense that we have more than one gesture to show that we’re saying “yes”. If nodding isn’t your thing, you probably prefer using the “thumbs-up” sign to indicate yes. A “thumbs-up” in French is un pouce levé.
Surprisingly, the pouce levé is also known as the le pouce anglais (“English thumb”). The pouce (“thumb-down”), on the other hand, is also known as *le pouce allemand (“German thumb”). It is also known as the pouce levé a pouce en haut or pouce vers le haut by some French people.
Other ways to say “Yes” in French
Here are a few more ways to say yes without actually saying “yes” in French:
– Affirmatif – “affirmative”
– Compte sur moi – “count on me”
– Comptez sur moi – formal or plural “count on me”
– Ça roule – “okay” or “smooth”, literally “it rolls” (familiar expression)
– Ça marche – “okay” or “smooth”, literally “it walks” (familiar expression)
Frequently asked questions
Q. What is Ma Oui in French?
A. This expression means “yes” or “obviously.” It is a synonym of bien sûr!
Q. Do the French say yay?
A. Ouah is French for “yes” when you are extra happy and enthusiastic. You could translate it as “Yes!” or “Yay!”
Q. What is the neutral way of saying ‘yes’ in French?
A. “D’accord” is the French equivalent of “alright”. D’accord can be formal or informal, making it a great alternative to oui.
You now understand how to say “yes” in French like a native speaker. Nobody will ever catch you off guard again. Are you happy? Oui! Do you have confidence in your knowledge of French words for “yes”? Bien sûr! Are you ready to continue your French studies?
Get in touch with italki tutors to learn new French words and understand the difference between several confusing words such as tout vs tous. Visit the website and get yourself enrolled today!
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