Ifyou spend some time in France or do a lot of reading or listening in French,you’ll notice that the French don’t always answer “oui” when you askthem a question.

You are watching: How to say yes sir in french

Instead,they might use the equivalent of “of course”, “yup” or “maybe”, orexpressions like “Of course”, “I agree,” and “That’s it precisely.” There’s even a way to say “yes” in Frenchwhen you’re confirming a negative statement.

Let’stake a look at an impressive 25 different ways to say “yes” in French!


The typical yes

A simple “Oui” is the most standard, basic, and neutral affirmative reply in French.

Oui has a long and fascinating history, and is the winner of along-running linguistic battle. By the Middle Ages, French had evolved intonumerous dialects that were essentially mutually unintelligible. But you couldgroup them into three major categories: the langues d’oïl, the languesd’oc, and other dialects. Oïl andoc refer to how speakers of these dialects said the word “yes”.

Over time, since it was spoken inParis, the royal city, the langue d’oïl became the dominant dialect. Ouiis the modern French evolution of the word oïl.

Oui is also a good word to know for romantics. In a traditionalFrench wedding ceremony, the bride and groom answer Oui, je le veux(Yes, I want this (marriage, life together, etc.)).

You can use oui in just aboutany situation where an affirmative response is required. It’s a neutralexpression, so there’s no sense of it being particularly formal or informal. If you want to make it sound especially polite orrespectful, you can add something to it.

For example:

Oui, madame/monsieur. (Yes, ma’am/sir.)

Oui, s’il vous plait. (Yes, please.)

Thecontradiction yes

“Si” iswhat I like to call the contradiction yes.

The French use si tocontradict negative questions and statements in both formal and informalsituations.

For example:

Tu n’as jamais visité Nantes, n’est-ce pas ?

Si, l’année dernière.

You’ve never been to Nantes, right?

Yes, I have, last year.

While si is used in Franceand by French-speakers in other European countries,many sources, including thisone, point out that si isn’tused as an affirmation of a negative statement in Canada or in AfricanFrancophone countries. Canadians just say oui, while many AfricanFrancophone speakers would answer a question like this with non.

So, for a Canadian, the answer tothe question in the example dialogue above would be Oui, l’année dernière.

For African Francophone speakers,the answer would be Non, l’année dernière – or maybe to clarify (as anEnglish-speaker would do if they answered “no” to affirm a question), Non,j’ai visité Nantes l’année dernière.

The neutralyes

“D’accord” isthe French equivalent of “alright”.

If you break it down, this makessense, since the word “accord” in both English and French implies agreement.

D’accord can be formal or informal, making it a great alternative to oui.

In addition to a stand-aloneresponse, it’s also used in the expression “être d’accord” (to agree).

Forexample :

On se voit demain ?

D’accord !

Shall we get together tomorrow?

Alright!

Je suis d’accord avec toi, les chatons sont plus mignons que les chiots.

I agree with you, kittens are cuter than puppies.

*

The casual yes

“Ça marche” isa casual way to say “It’s/That’s ok for me” in French. It literally translatesto “That works”.

It’s an informal expression, so youcan basically use it with anyone you are on a “tu” basis with.

You could also use the less common“Ça roule” (literally: “It/That rolls”) instead. This expression is the roughequivalent of “That’s cool.”

Sometimes people add “ma poule” (literally:“my chicken”) to the end: Ça roule, ma poule. This is a bit outdated andfunny – think of it like “okey dokey” in English – so if you want a serious reaction, don’t add mapoule.

Examples:

Je passe te chercher à 14 heures lundi.

Ça marche.

I’ll pick you up at 2PM on Monday.

Ok/Alright/That works for me.

Je passe te chercher à 14 heures lundi.

Ça roule.

I’ll pick you up at 2PM on Monday.

Cool.

The obviousanswer “yes”

If a person asks you something towhich the answer seems obvious, you could answer:

Bien sûr (Ofcourse)

Evidemment (Obviously/Clearly)

You can use bien sûr in anysituation, but évidemment is better suited to formal situations.

Tu aimes le chocolat ?Bien sûr/Évidemment.

Theunconvinced yes

Your friend absolutely wants tointroduce you to someone, but you’d rather stay at home. The conversation couldgo something like this:

Ça va être génial, tu verras.

It’s gonna be great, you’ll see.

Mouais…

Mm yeah/Yeah, okay, whatever…

As you might have guessed, mouaisis a portmanteau of hum (um) and ouais (yeah).

In some cases, it implies beingbored or unimpressed, as well as unconvinced.You can see this usage in this review of a restaurant,entitled “mouais bof” — the equivalent of “Meh” (not great or exciting)in English.

Note that mouais is extremelyinformal and could come off as rude if you use it in professional occasions orwith a stranger. It should only be used with friends or people you can becasual around. Even then, if the person is talking about something they’reserious or passionate about, responding “Mouais” would probably come offas mean.

The “Where doI sign?” yes

Sometimes an opportunity comesup that’s so exciting that you wish you could say “yes” even before the personis done talking. That’s when you can use “carrément” inFrench. It’s the equivalent of“Absolutely!” in English.

But you should only use it ininformal situations.

Example:

Ça te dirait de visiter Costa Rica cet été ?

Carrément.

Want to go to Costa Rica this summer?

Absolutely.

*

Note that in addition to its affirmative use, carrément is an adverb that means “totally/straight/straight up/dead”. You can see the different ways it’s used in this context, here.

The “I agree”yes

If you’re happy to do something, butcan’t use the casual carrément because you’re in a formal orprofessional setting, you can opt for one of these variations instead:

Volontiers (Gladly/Willingly. Note theconnection of this word with la volonté (will))

Avec plaisir (With pleasure)

Certainement (Certainly)

Example:

Je vous sers un café ?

Volontiers.

Would you like some coffee?

Gladly.

The irritatedyes

Here are two useful expressions youcan use if someone asks you an irritating question:

Mais oui (Yes, of course)

Ben oui (sometimes written as Bah oui)(Uh, yeah)

While mais oui translatesdirectly to “but yes” – in other words, “Yes, of course”, ben or bah arephonetic representations of the sound French people make when they say theequivalent of “um” or “uh”.

Although it usually shows irritationor annoyance, you may hear Mais oui used in sort of playful way, forexample, in a commercial if someone can’t believe a deal they’re getting: UniPhone X pour seulement 700 euros? – Mais oui!

Ben oui/Bah oui, on the other hand, denotes a certain sloppiness,disrespect, or extreme casualness, so even if you’re not intending to say it inan irritated way, never use this expression in formal or professionalsituations.

Always keep in mind that these twoways to say yes in French could easily be considered rude!

Here’s an example with eachexpression:

Tu as fait tes devoirs ?

Mais oui, je te l’ai déjà dit trois fois !

You did your homework, right?

Yes, I already told you (I did) three times!

or

Tu as fait tes devoirs ?

Ben oui, je te l’ai déjà dit trois fois !

You did your homework, right?

Duh. I told you I did it three times already!

The geneticallymodified yes

Ouais is the “yeah” to oui’s “yes”.Inother words, ouais means exactly the same thing as oui, but it’smuch more informal.

Ouais

It’s so informal, in fact, that somepeople may be irritated if you use it with them.

Similar to ouais is ouaip– the equivalent of the English “yep.”

Ouaip

Like ouais, ouaip isvery informal and could be considered rude if you’re talking to someone in aprofessional or formal setting.

Ouais and ouaip are two awesome additions to your ouitoolbox, but remember that to only use them with people you’re close to, thatis with people you use tu with.

Even then, some of those peoplemight not like these words. My five-year-oldson, for example, often says ouais with his great-aunts and -uncles, andmany of them correct him and make him say oui instead.

Here’s an example of a dialogue withouais :

Tu es fatigué ?

Ouais, je me suis couché tard hier.

Are you tired?

Yeah, I went to bed late last night.

Good to know: If you’re excited about something, you can shout “Ouais !”, since this is the equivalent of “Yesss!” in English. Like “Yesss!”, remember that Ouais! is still informal.

*
>

In Canadian French, the phoneticspelling of the informal way everyday people say “Yeah” is usually written as ouainor ouin (note that this latter is also thesound of a baby crying in French, which might be confusing in some contexts…).

The “That’sright” yes

When you want to confirm that whatsomeone says is correct, you can useone of these (rather formal) words:

Exactement (Exactly)

Tout à fait (That’s right/Precisely)

En effet (Indeed)

Example:

Vous êtes bien Monsieur Durand ?

Tout à fait.

You are Monsieur Durand, right?

That’s right.

Theintellectual yes

If you’re reading an academic paper,article, or literary text in French, you might come across this little word: certes. Depending on the exact phrasing, certescan translate to “certainly,” “admittedly,” “of course,” and “To be sure”.

Although it’s not commonly used ineveryday spoken French, it pops up in formal speeches, intellectual debates,and academic lectures. And you’ll also see it in formal or academic writing. So,you could say that certes is a common way to affirm a fact or idea whenit comes to brainy subjects (and speakers).

For example:

Certes, Louis XVI n’était pas cruel, mais ce n’était pas un bon roi.

Admittedly, Louis XVI wasn’t cruel, but he wasn’t a good king.

The “perfect” yes

Sometimes, you may want to say thatsomething is perfect. In this case, you can use:

Parfait (Perfect)

Très bien (Excellent)

Oui merci (Yes, thank you)

*

All of these expressions can be used in either formal or informal situations, so when you feel inspired to reply with one of them, you can do so without fear! In extremely formal situations, though, I would suggest adding merci to the end of Parfait.

Example:

Votre chambre vous convient-elle ?

Oui merci/ oui c’est parfait / oui c’est très bien.

Is your room all right?

Yes, thank you/Yes, it’s perfect/Yes, it’s excellent.

See more: Name Two Foods That Bacteria Help Make, Bacteria And Humans ( Read )

Do the Frenchalways say “yes”?

We’ve just seen that there are atleast 25 ways to say “yes” in French. I say “at least” because individualregions and groups may have others, and there’s new slang coming out all thetime that might include some additional forms of affirmative replies. When youthink of it that way, the choices for how to say “yes” in French are practicallyinfinite!

Interestingly, though, on the whole,the French aren’t exactly the most affirmative, willing people. In fact, a bigpart of Frenchculture is contestation, refusal, and intellectual debate. The French refusalto just say oui to everything is very apparent when you live in France:there are frequently strikes in just about every professional sectorimaginable!

Accordingto this fascinating article, saying “no” is ingrainedin French people from childhood, and is at the root of why si exists inFrench spoken in France, but not in certain other more “yes”-orientedFrancophone cultures.

Now that you know a myriad of funand exciting ways to say “yes” in French, pick your favorite from this list andtry to use it with your conversation partner! You’llimmediately sound more French.

And if you’re also not one to agree with everything, click here to discover 13 ways to say “no” in French!