How is it going in French

10 Ways to Say How Are You? in French (+ 10 Ways to Respond)written byShannon KennedyFull disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. ?Comment allez-vous ? How are you?When it

How is it going in French

10 Ways to Say How Are You? in French (+ 10 Ways to Respond)


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written by
Shannon Kennedy

Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. ?

Comment allez-vous ?  How are you?

When it comes to greeting your fellow French speakers, there are many ways to ask how theyre doing.

In this article, Ill teach you how to ask someone how they are in French. That way, the next time you greet your French friends, youll be equipped with plenty of options beyond comment ça va?

Plus, Ill share several fun ways to respond to the question.

1. Comment allez-vous ?  How are you?

When you first crack open almost any French language learning resource, one of the first expressions youll learn is comment allez-vous?, literally how are you going? It is, by far, one of the most well-known French phrases for asking someone how they are.

The nice thing about comment allez-vous is that it's the most safe and polite of all greetings in French. You can use it in almost any situation. And in addition to it meaning how are you? in the formal sense, it can also be used when asking a group of people. Its handy in more than one situation!

If youd like to ask the informal version of this question, then you say comment vas-tu ?

2. Comment ça va ?  Hows it going?

This is slightly less formal than comment allez-vous, but its still a safe bet when youre not sure about what level of formality you need to use. It literally means how it goes? but translates to hows it going? or how are you?

3. Vous allez bien ?  Are you well?

When you see someone you know and you want to check up on them beyond the standard how are you?, you can use vous allez bien ? to ask them if theyre well. Word-for-word, its you go well? but what youre really asking is are you well?

Again, note the formal vous rather than tu. If youd like to ask this informally, it would be tu vas bien ?

4. Ça va ?  Hows it going?

With ça va? were beginning to step into more informal territory, but this particular expression can still be used in a fairly wide range of contexts. Its not so informal that it should be reserved for friends and family, but its best to stick with either of the first two questions in explicitly formal situations. This expression still means how are you? even though it literally translates as it goes?

Note that in French, most of the expressions for asking how someone is use the verb aller (to go) and not être (to be).

5. Comment vous sentez-vous ?  How are you feeling?

If you know that someone has been feeling a little under the weather, this is a good way to ask how theyre feeling. This particular expression is used in formal situations or when asking more than one person.

If youd like to ask just one friend or close acquaintance, then you say comment tu te sens ?

6. Quoi de neuf ?  Whats new?

This expression is one of the more casual ways to ask how someone is doing in French. It literally means whats new?

7. Ça gaze ?  Whats up?

This expression is very informal and is best used with friends or those that you are close to. Its a little outdated, but can still be a fun way to get the conversation rolling or to get your friends laughing because theyre amused youve picked this one up.

8. Quoi de beau ?  Whats beautiful?

The French like to use the word beautiful in a surprisingly large number of situations. You might hear it in quest-ce que tu fais de beau dans la vie ?(literally: what do you do in life that's beautiful?) for what do you do for a living? and il fait beau (literally it's beautiful) for the weather is nice.

And, of course, its in the phraseQuoi de beau ?for asking someone how theyre doing.

9. Ça roule ?  Its rolling?

When you want to ask your friend how they are and perhaps, more specifically how a certain situation or task is going, you might ask ça roule ? Literally, it means its rolling, but its a fun way to check up on someone in a casual way.

10. Ça baigne ?  It bathes?

Similar to ça roule ? is ça baigne ? It translates to it bathes?, but is another informal way to ask how someone is doing.

Turn It Around

A quick hack for turning the question around in case the person youre talking to gets to it first is by asking and you? In French, this is et vous ? for formal situations or when youre talking to more than one person and et toi ? for informal situations and when there is just one other person.

How to Reply to How are You? in French

Now that you know how to ask how someone is doing, its time to prepare a response for when the question is turned back over to you. Here are 10 ways to reply to how are you? in French.

1. Bien, merci !  Good, thanks!

The go-to response to how are you? in French is bien, merci ! (good, thanks). Its polite and keeps the conversation rolling. You can even give it a little more oompf by adding très to the front to say très bien, merci or very well, thanks.

2. Ça va  It goes

This is another typical reply to how are you?, especially when the question was phrased as comment ça va ? or ça va?. Its short, to the point, but still polite enough to be appropriate in most situations.

3. Ça roule  It rolls

Earlier you learned ça roule ? as a question, but if you change your intonation, you can say the same thing as an answer in more informal contexts.

4. Comme ci, comme ça  Okay

If youre neither great, nor bad, in French you might be like this, like that. Comme ci, comme ça is a fun way to let the person youre chatting with know that things are going okay.

5. Pas mal  Not bad

If youd like to be a little vaguer in your response, or perhaps a little more down to earth, you can reply with pas mal. It literally translates to not bad.

6. Comme dhab  Same as always

This reply is a shortened version of comme dhabitude or like usual. It can be used to mean same as always. Its more on the informal side.

7. Tout va bien  All good

This expression literally means all goes well and can be used to say all good in either formal or informal situations.

8. Assez bien  Well enough or quite well

This reply can be used to share that youre well enough or quite well. Its still relatively positive and is a useful alternative to très bien or just bien.

9. Ça pourrait être pire  it could be worse

If youd like to be a bit more realistic or even somewhat humorous in your reply, you could go with ça pourrait être pire (it could be worse). To make it even more colloquial, you can add a bof to the beginning to say bof, ça pourrait être pire meaning meh, it could be worse.

10. Je nai pas à me plaindre  Ive got nothing to complain about

If youre feeling pretty good about things, you could say Ive got nothing to complain about. In French, this would be je nai pas à me plaindre.

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Shannon Kennedy

Language Encourager, Fluent in Months

Shannon is Head Coach for the Fluent in 3 Months Challenge. She is currently based in Southern California where she performs as a professional musician. Her passions are cooking, reading, traveling and sharing her adventures in language learning.

Speaks: English, French, Mandarin, Russian, Croatian, JapaneseView all posts by Shannon Kennedy

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