https://www.duolingo.com/angrybunny

tutoyer vs vouvoyer

Ok, so I know that TU is for friends, family and children and VOUS is for strangers, people you need to show respect to and plural but I still have a few questions about it.

  1. How do I know when to transition from vous to tu? If I'm becoming friends with someone do I just ask them? If it's a matter of asking is it ever appropriate to say no?

  2. Will a French person become angry with me if I use these inappropriately? Maybe they'd forgive me immediately for being a foreigner?

  3. Does it ever transition the other way? Eg... You meet someone, become friends, start to tutoyer and then decide you don't want to be friends with them anymore and revert back to vous.

Thanks in advance. :)

May 20, 2014

10 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/-TashaJ-
  1. I'd say use "tu" for friends, family and informal situations. Use "vous" for teachers, and formal situations and for the plural.

  2. I'm sure a French person would appreciate you trying to speak their language because at least you're trying :)

  3. I'm not entirely sure about this one. I guess it would depend on the situation and how well you know each other.

May 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/benji429
  1. When you’re meeting someone, you will often hear "On se tutoie ?". But let's say that if you don't know someone enough to call him by his/her first name, it's safer to vouvoyer this person.

  2. I think it’s better to vouvoyer any person you meet in the streets, if you’re asking for directions for exemple. But otherwise, if you’re meeting people at a party or doing any activities with people whom you share common interests, it’s very likely that you’re going to say « tu » from the start. And he fact that you're a foreigner would be definitely a attenuating circumstance ;)

  3. I have never experienced or heard about a situation like that haha.

May 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Libby_S

For a specific example, when I was studying in France, I stayed with a host family. I tutoyer'd the 12 year son, but vouvoyer'd the 40 something parents (I was 20 at the time). I one point I let "tu" slip with my host dad, but he didn't comment on it.

May 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/angrybunny

Thanks for the replies guys. I think I'll just stick to vous unless using tu is obvious.

May 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/osiriscorleone

Usually, in familiar company, people will prefer that you use tutoyer. When we stayed in France I used vouvoyer with my host's parents until one night when, after a few bottles of wine, I slipped and called his father "tu". Mortified, I apologized and corrected myself, but was immediately shouted down and told to use "tu" with him - "c'est plus facile!" He had wanted to say something the whole time but didn’t want to embarrass me!

A basic rule of thumb is to use vous for people on the street and tu for company, except when you want to go out of your way to show respect. Think of it like "sir" - you would use it when dealing with a stranger to show respect, or with your old-fashioned grandfather, but with your friend's parents, you would probably call them Mr and Mrs at the most. Use vous when you would use sir and you should be ok.

September 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Darren_Mart

If it helps, I asked a similar question not too long ago and there were some helpful replies:

https://www.duolingo.com/comment/2622125

May 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/barnsey919

cheers bud

May 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/SCE51802

How are vouvoyer and tutoyer different?

November 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/linhtinh08

I'd say use "tu" for friends, family and informal situations. Use "vous" for teachers, and formal situations and for the plural.

I'm sure a French person would appreciate you trying to speak their language because at least you're trying :)

I'm not entirely sure about this one. I guess it would depend on the situation and how well you know each other.

January 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/le_tra-jeudi

i had the same questions!

this is in all european languages i think

even english used to have a difference between formal and informal "you"

very helpful. thanks for posting

February 4, 2018
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