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  5. "Bonne nuit !"

"Bonne nuit !"

Translation:Good night!

January 2, 2013

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Could someone explain the difference in French between "Bonsoir" and "Bonne nuit"? Does this have to do with the clock time, or something else? In English, "Good evening" is a greeting (perhaps a bit stilted or old-fashioned) and "Good night" is for parting (either "Goodbye" at night, or upon going to bed for the night).


Very simple.

  • "Bonjour" can be said at any hour if you meet someone for the first time in the day, but if it's late, it's very weird to say "bonjour" as the "jour" (the day) is ending, you would say rather "bonsoir" (good evening). You never use "Bonjour" when you take leave of someone.

  • "Bonjour" can be also "good morning" in the morning.

  • "Bonne nuit" is "good night" is the greeting we say before going to bed, (or you can say it when you take leave of someone in the night)

  • "Bonsoir" is "good evening", so you say it in the evening. And you also can say it when you leave of someone in the evening. You can say it also when you meet someone in the evening instead of "bonjour". (since "bonjour" is weird when it's late)

  • "Bon après-midi!" (sometimes spelled "bonne") is "good afternoon", you can say it when you take leave of someone in the after-noon.

For instance: I go to my grocery store, and I met the sales assitant, I say: Bonjour/Bonsoir I buy my groceries, and when I take leave of him, I say: Au revoir/ Bon après-midi/Bonsoir/Bonne nuit.


Hmm, I've always thought that “bonne soirée“ might be better than "bonsoir" while parting... "Bonsoir" for greeting and “bonne soirée“ for parting, isn't that right?


levieuxsieur- you're at my house, at seven pm you quit, you can say both, but in this case, you could want to wish me to pass a good evening, so you leave and you say bonne soirée. If you leave later, maybe at 11 pm, the evening is already passed, so it's bonsoir ot bonne nuit. So it's also a matter of time.


Following that format, would it sound natural to use "bon matin" for "good morning"?


No, even though some people say it, it is actually incorrect. You can use "bonjour" for "hello" which will also cover for "good morning".


George, isn't there an exception for bon matin? i.e. upon awaking, your spouse kisses you on the cheek and says, "Bon matin." Or is that also incorrect?


If it happened to me, I would laugh a bit.


Bonne nuit is also possible to translate as "have a good night" I suppose, right?


Goodnight means before going to sleep, Good evening means at a time like when you have dinner.


why would you consider 'good evening' to be stilted or old-fashioned? strange..


ikr and au rivoir means the same but i have a feeling on is more respectful


Au revoir menas good bye and can be said at any time of day. Bonne nuit means goodnight and is said before you retire for the night or go to bed


Two words in bonne nuit and bonsior is hello ..one word


It's like "Goodbye" is one word and "Good night" is two. Just happened.


adeispro- bonsoir is good evening,


Bonsoir is actually good evening which is technically hello at night. Bonne nuit is goodnight


katchutes- Maybe in English, but in French, which is my lenguage, we say bonsoir and when we say hello, it's not because it's at night but because it's informal, and we say hello to our friends, no matter the moment of the day or the night. We can say hello anytime but it's informal.


I have never heard anyone say bonsoir during the day. Mind you, I was in Montreal and not in France


katchutes- We never say bonsoir during the day, you're right, I say bonsoir in the evening, when I arrive or when I leave.


Oh right that makes sense. Yeah I should've also said it's a greeting and goodbye in the evening


katchutes- I will correct what I wtote, I meant good evening, I had a distraction.


Is it usual to have a space before an exclamation mark?


Yes, that is standard in French as far as I can tell.


I've been trying to tame my inner--okay, and outer--punctuation responses to that. I do a lot of copy editing, and it's been driving me mad. I've looked it up on several websites, and apparently it's a thing. For your bold willingness to ask, I award you a lingot.


Is the e in bonne silent?


If the "e" in "bonne" is silent, why is it distinctly audible here?


Distinctly? I'm only getting the woman's voice at the moment, but there's no 'e' sound that I can detect.


Yes, it's only the man who pronounces the final "e." Apparently common in southwestern France.


Thank you! I was wondering how so many years of hearing and saying it without the ‘ne’ could have been mistaken. So it’s la nuit and bonne nuit But it still sounds like bon-nuit. Phew! And cute with the bon-ne too :)


Could you use this in the context of "Good Night" when going to bed, and also "Good Night!" as an exclamation?


It's the only context.


I am not sure about using 'Bonne nuit!' as an exclamation, but I do believe you could use it in the context of 'Sleep well'


Yes you can, and it's its only usage. You can't say in another context "la nuit est bonne",it's always with the meaning of a good night of rest, you could say "as-tu passé une bonne nuit"? (did you spend a good night? Or informal: "Ta nuit a été bonne?.

-Stéphane: Bonne nuit!

-Carine: Merci, Stéphane! A toi aussi, bonne nuit!

-Stéphane: Merci Carine! Fais de beaux rêves! (Sweet dreams: litterally, "do beautiful dreams") Dors bien! (=sleep well)


yes, it would work either way, and is suitable for everyday use. Well, that's what my fluent-in-french french teacher said to me. :D


Can you use either Bon nuit or Bonne nuit?


No. Nuit is feminine (despite it's appearance) so all modifiers such as articles and adjectives must be in agreement which means they must have the feminine form as well.


Why "despite its appearance"? There's no particular "appearance" for feminine or masculine in French, if you don't know a word, you can't guess its gender (there are very very scarce exception, like the word ending by "tion")


If you don't know a word's gender and you have to decide, there is no other basis than its appearance.

Many, but certainly not all, nouns that end with an e are feminine. It's not a reliable guideline but it it's better than flipping a coin. As you you yourself have pointed out there are some endings that do help when guessing.

Better than guessing, if you can't remember, is just to look it up, but some students' personal approach is not to do it that way. They prefer to guess and get it right or wrong because they believe that approach helps them remember.

So, nuit despite having none of the endings common with feminine such as e, ette, tion etc. is definitely feminine as are many other nouns without those helpful, little, sometimes yes, sometimes no, indicators.


"Nuit" despite having none of the endings common with feminine "e, ette, tion",etc ---> it's definitevely a bad rule in my opinion, extremely misleading and a disavantage for learning. It is like if it says that you need a special ending in French to be a feminine noun, but it's due to a bad knowledge of the history of French. Some words are feminine or masculine (and some can be both), because of the Latin word they come from, some because of the minsinterpretation of an old expression (I can tell you some example), etc...

So, yes, when it's "ette" it' normal, because it's the masculine of the suffix "et", meaning "little", when it's "tion", it's easy, because it's a substantivation, when it's "isme" you can guess the gender without mistake, when it's "eur" is always masculine, etc... but the other ones, there's so much exceptions, it's very uneasy, even for a French to guess, so why people who are not native try hard things then it's more easy to learn them, and to notice the pattern once you begin to be a little fluent in French?


Couldn't agree more. The best way to know the gender of a noun is to simply know the gender.

My advice is when learning a word connect the appropriate article to it so that the article and word become one. That way if you know the word, then you know the gender.

However, when you come across a word that you don't know but are guessing at its meaning, then you are forced to guess at its gender as well. If that is the case then remembering that the ratio of masculine nouns to feminine is about 70/30. That many feminine nouns and even some masculine nouns have characteristic endings. And using this admittedly very unreliable approach is better than flipping a coin.

Of course, the best way is to know what the gender of the noun is but the whole discussion is what to do when the gender is unknown and the student is unable or unwilling to look it up.

Using the 70/30 approach would lead you to believe that nuit is masculine. Using characteristic endings makes nuit look masculine or at least not feminine. Having learned the word nuit as la nuit or une nuit would lead you to know for sure that, despite some minor appearances, it is feminine.



If you don't know a particular word's gender and are unable or unwilling in the circumstances to look it up, then guessing is not a bad thing. The alternative is to simply not use the word. For a student trying to learn the language that really is a bad thing.

Saying la garçon will cause listeners to stop and ask you what you are trying to say. This will help you learn that it is le garçon. Simply stopping your speaking and pointing to some boy will make your point but won't help you learn.

And yes, we understand knowing the gender of nouns is a good thing. Even better is to know a lot of them. It takes only a few minutes for students to figure out that guessing at gender is a poor strategy when compared to knowing the gender.

The issue in this string of comments is what to do when you don't know.


Perce-neige, You're absolutely right. As a native, I can tell that there are no rules and to guess is a bad thing. The correct way to learn genders, it's like ourselves learned many years ago, in learning the new word with its article.


The only real reason why "nuit" is feminine is that the Latin word "nox" from which it's derived was also feminine. The same goes for the Spanish, Italian (and so on) and their equivalents for the word "nuit".


Is it Goodnight or Good night?


It's more often written as two words.


The ultimate reference for the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary contains no listing for "goodnight", but rather two words, "good night". http://public.oed.com/about/free-oed/


Why do "bonne soiree" and "bonne journee" translate to have a good evening/day, but "bonne nuit" translates to just good night, and not have a good night?


What's the difference between Bon and Bonne?


bon = masculine singular

bons = masculine plural

bonne = feminine singular

bonnes = feminine plural.

Adjectives must agree with the noun they modify both in terms of number and gender.


wattpadteam- If we talk about afternoon / après-midi, this word has 2 genders. You can say bon après-midi or bonne après-midi. In the first case, because of the liaison, it sounds like the second one exemple.


There are two speakers here--one male, one female. When they pronounce this phrase they say it differently.
The man pronounces the 'e' rather distinctly and the lady seems not to pronounce it at all.
Are both of these correct? Is one preferred?


They are both correct, just different accents. The male voice is typical of the accent in Southwest France.


In the tips, it clearly says in the parenthesis that Bonne nuit means 'have a good night.' Yet when I put that answer, I am told that it means only 'good night.' I think the answer in 'the tips' should be changed to correlate with what the 'error corrector' is recommending. :)


The full meaning of "bonne nuit" is "I wish you a good night", or "have a good night".

The exact translation of "bonne nuit" is "goodnight" (as shown in the hints).

The other way around:

  • Je vous souhaite une bonne nuit
  • Passez une bonne nuit.


hi guys I have question plz explain it: bonsoir=good evening bonne soiree=have a good evening bonjour=hi/good morning bonne jour=have a good day so why we say bonne nuit means goodnight? (and yes I'm not english so maybe my q is wierd but if it is plz explain to me tnx;)


"Bonne jour" is incorrect.

How to say "hello" throughout the day:

  • Morning/afternoon: bonjour ! (standard) or salut ! (informal)
  • Evening/night: bonsoir !

How to say good bye throughout the day

  • Any time: au revoir ! (standard) or salut ! (informal)
  • When leaving at day time: bonne journée !
  • When leaving at the end of the afternoon or early evening: bonne soirée !
  • Before going to bed: bonne nuit !


So you can use bonne nuit, but not bon matin for good morning? Wow


Yes, "bon matin" is not in standard French, if you use it in France, it's just weird, but I read it's common in Québec. It's idiomatic. In France, we use "Bonjour" in the morning, and it's enough.


perce-neige- I live in Quebec and we don't use bon matin. I don't know anybody who says that. We say bonjour. I heard once BOn matin in a song for small children and i think it was to show them the word morning. So, it would be weird here too, to say bon matin instead of bonjour.


Yes, I have to correct that. Some Canadians told us here that "bon matin" should be accepted, because it was Canadian French (and I believe Duo doesn't check it, and accept things in a little too demagogic way sometimes), but I've checked, and it's recommended to no use "bon matin" on Canadian Teachers sites. So, if Duo accepts later "bon matin" to please some users, I think it would be a big mistake... (as the other anglicisms)


perce-neige- this week in Duo, someone told me that bon matin isn't an anglicism because those are 2 French words. This person didn't know that a literal translation which has no sense in French, is also an anglicism. There are a lot of anglicisms even though the words are French, and bon matin is one of those. There are a lot of links explaining that.


Did people ever say bon matin? I remember learning that expression in a high school French class 20+ years ago.


No, they don't at least in France.


Night and day are nouns but do not need an article preceding them?


Not in this expression. Bonne nuit = good night


Why is it acceptable to say bonne nuit but not bonne soir?


Because nuit is feminine, while soir is masculine. So bonne nuit and bonsoir


Bonne nuit = good night (said when you are leaving someone at the end of an evening or when going to bed). Bonsoir = Good evening. It is the equivalent of "bonjour" which is said during the day.


Why bonne, not bon? nuit is feminine? are there any loose rules to help indicate and remember male and female nouns?


No rule of thumb, unfortunately. You will have to learn every noun with its gender.

Night = la/une nuit, feminine.


Thank you.. I thought ~e endings constituted feminine mind.. But already I'm seeing many exceptions!


All nouns ending in -tion or -ssion are feminine, as well as many ending in -eur, like:

peur (fear), soeur (sister), chaleur (heat), valeur (value), pâleur (pallor)), humeur (mood), rumeur (rumo/u/r), tumeur (tumo/u/r), teneur (content), erreur (error), fureur ( fury), faveur (favo/u/r), saveur (flavo/u/r), minceur (thinness), maigreur (underweight), douceur (softness), laideur (ugliness), raideur (stiffness), rondeur (roundness), longueur (length), largeur (width), épaisseur (thickness)...


Why do you write 'Bonne nuit' instead of 'bon nuit' or 'bonnuit'. Why is there an extra '...ne' on the end of Bonne?


"Une/la nuit" is a feminine noun : bonne nuit !


So bonne journee/soiree means have a good day/evening, but bonne nuit means just goodnight? I thought if you took off the ne from bonne and joined it with the day/evening/night word it would then just be good day, good evening or good night?


What you suggest is creative but not French, because "jour" is masculine (bonjour) but "journée, soirée, nuit" are feminine and need "bonne" which does not join with these nouns.


Then why is it not have a good night but is just good night when bonne journee is have a good day and not just good day? Same with evening. One is confuzzed.


I meant the 'have a good' part.


I think it's just "goodnight" and not "have a good night" because "bonne nuit" is what people say as they are going to bed. In English, you usually would not say "have a good night" to someone who was going to bed. You might say "have a good night' to someone who was going out for the evening. In French, I think that situation would require "bonne soirée" instead.

So this is one of those times where you can't really translate literally word for word.


Can someone explain to me why some answers are "have a good night" and some answers are "good night"?


I have been trying to get that answer too. I thought as all the others had 'have a good'....... with them that this too was a 'have a good night' but no, it is simply goodnight. I want to know the difference between the have a goods and the just simple good.

[deactivated user]

    Why does bonne soirée mean have a good evening but bonne nuit does not mean have a good night?


    Because French people say "bonne nuit" when they are going to bed, and, in English, we don't say "have a good night" when we are going to bed. We just say "good night."


    Could someone explain the difference in French between "Bonsoir" and "Bonne nuit"? Does this have to do with the clock time, or something else? In English, "Good evening" is a greeting (perhaps a bit stilted or old-fashioned) and "Good night" is for parting (either "Goodbye" at night, or upon going to bed for the night).

    • Bon = Good (masculine) / Bonne = Good (feminine)
    • Soir = Evening
    • Nuit (feminine noun) = Night
    • Bonsoir = Good evening
    • Bonne nuit = Good night


    bonsoir means good afternoon and bonne nuit means good night


    Not quite:

    • bon(ne) après-midi = good afternoon (note: après-midi can be masculine or feminine)
    • bonsoir = good evening
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