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Greetings in French, Being Polite, Wishing a Good Day/night

Regnier Delucques
08/05/2018 0 0

In French, It is a common habit to greet a person whom you know or not. The complexity lies in the following factors:

- The person you greet (is it a person whom you are already well acquainted with or not)
- The age of the person (is the person younger or older)
- The gender of the person (are you dealing with a male or female)
- When dealing with a female (is she married or not)
- The time of the day (morning, noon, afternoon, evening, night, midnight)
- The circumstance (whether you are meeting the person or leaving the person)

When greeting in French, you first wish a good day, then politely ask about the well-being of the person we address ourselves to. Knowing already how to ask a question is not mandatory, but can help framing the question the right way.

A)
- Bonjour! Bonsoir! Salut! are used to say either Good morning, Good afternoon/evening or Hi/hello
- Bonjour or Bonsoir Monsieur!/Madame!/Mademoiselle are used to say either Good morning Sir, Madam or miss (a young lady and unmarried)

Note: the object of the question would reply back by saying: Bonjour! Bonsoir! Salut

- Comment ca va?, Ca va?, Tu vas bien? Are used to say "How are you" to well known person and mostly a person of our age or younger.

Note: the object of the question would reply back by saying: Ca va bien (I a fine), Ca va mal (I am not fine), Comme ci comme ca (so so), Pas mal (I am ok, more good than bad)

B)
- Comment allez-vous? is used to say "How are you" to strangers, but also to know persons that are older to us.

Note: the object of the question would reply back by saying: Je vais bien, merci (I am fine thanks), Je vais mal (I am not fine).

C)
1- While meeting (saying for exp Good morning, after...):
- From 12 am to 12 pm use Bonjour
- From 12 pm to 12 am use Bonsoir

2- While leaving (saying have a good day/evening...):
- From 6 am to 12 pm use Bonne journey
- From 1 pm to 3 pm use Bonne apres-midi
- From 4 pm to 8 pm use Bonne soiree
- From 9 pm to 12 am use Bonne nuit

Note: It is not unlikely that a person would wish a good morning between 12 am to 6 am (while meeting as it is a new day that started) and Goodnight between 12 am to 2 am (while leaving as it is still dark)

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