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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/the_ambria

vous vs. tu

Hello. I don't understand when you would use vous and tu. Are there certain times to use each of them? Is one more formal than the other?

March 31, 2020

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Judit294350

"Tu" is only used for "you" when talking to a person you know well and are close to. For strangers, bosses, or groups of people use "vous".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jimmy54103

Both "tu" and "vous" mean "you".


If you are talking to one person, you have these options:

---- Tu as un canard. (informal)

---- Vous avez un canard. (formal)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Antoron

That, and "vous" will always be used, I believe, if you're talking to one or more people. It's with one person that it depends on the "formality" of the conversation!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jim-Horner

In addition to previous comments, if you have any doubts always use "vous". You will not be wrong and no one will be upset. When staying with a french family whilst helping to supervise a school french exchange (I was a teacher but not of french), I was invited to "tutoyer" (use tu) after a few days of getting to know each other. We remained friends.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jojo553168

Just found this in the tips and notes.
I wrote a rather comprehensive answer on how and when to use vous and tu on this forum a few months ago, but can't find it anymore.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TimDiggle

This is a highly complex and nuanced subject, way beyond the capacity of Duolingo, and one of the best explanations I have ever seen is this from a well known French teacher - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noYZ78HGmZ0.

Unless you are very experienced (or French!) I suggest you stick to Jim Horner's recommendation to use «vous » unless invited to use «tu ». (As an illustration of how complex it can be my late mother, born in pre-war St Jean de Luz, was happy for us to use «tu » to her at home but at any public gathering such as a hotel or restaurant she insisted we used «vous » - but she was spectacularly old-fashioned and formal, way beyond normal modern usage!)


[deactivated user]

    "Tu" - used for one person(singular)/ used informally (e.g. friend) "Vous" - used for a group of people ("you guys")/used informally (e.g. teacher) Hope this helps!

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