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Should you use "Tu" or "Vous" when talking to people online?

Hello! Recently, I've been playing video games with French speaking players, and I was wondering if it's appropriate to use tu or vous in that setting. When starting conversations with them, I used tu, and when replying, they also used tu. In hindsight, I don't know whether or not that was appropriate for the situation. On one hand, it's an informal setting, but on the other hand, I'm not acquainted with them. Any insight on the situation would be much appreciated. Thank you!

April 17, 2020



Either would be fine.

Myself, I would go with "tu" since it's the internet.

But, you can ask them: "Est-ce que je peux vous tutoyer? ( May I use “tu” with you?)


"Est-ce que je peux vous tutoyer?"

Wow you just taught me a new phrase, merci vraiment beaucoup!!


Thank you, that’s very helpful!


d'accord, merci!


When you're playing video games you shoud definitely use "tu". "Vous" sounds weird. That's because video games are mostly used by young people.

More generally, when you are on the internet, you can use tu (e.g: here on duolingo, in comment section on youtube...). People will not get offenced.

I will assume you are young. In your daily life, not on the internet, if you talk with someone who is also young, use tu, whether it is formal or not. If you talk with someone who is 25+ (this is approximate.) use vous for formal setting and tu for informal ones.


I use both tu and vous online depending on the situations. I think you can safely say tu to other video game players.


That makes me relieved, thank you!


it all depends on the person you're talking to . we usually use 'vous' when talking to older people that we respect like with parents , teachers..etc . and 'tu' is used with friends , classmates..etc


Things change. Nowhere is that more clear than in language, and especially in the way language reflects cultural changes.

When I was learning French in the mid-1960s, if you had asked whether to use "tu" or "vous" with people whom you don't know very well, the answer would have been emphatically that you must always use "vous". There was no hair-splitting about their social position, or their age (...well, except for the normal tendency to speak to small children with fondness, which is common to many cultures). And of course, their was no Internet.

The rules of engagement were clear: "tu" is reserved for use between people in close personal relationships — family, friends, romantic partners, and sometimes in work environments, where appropriate. In all other cases, use "vous". If there is any uncertainty, always default to "vous". "Vous" was polite; no one would be offended. By contrast, using "tu" inappropriately was considered rude and presumptuous.

Judging by the other comments in this thread, it appears that things have changed...a lot. Language—aided and abetted by technological advances that are themselves accelerating—is an immediately responsive indicator of such changes. It's a reflection of an evolving culture in which the "norm" is constantly being re-defined.

Whether it actually constitutes "progress" is a question we probably will only be able to answer in hindsight.

Vito Tuxedo


Fascinating! I find it interesting how “you” instead of “thou” became the norm in English while in other languages the informal you is becoming more commonplace.


In Brazilian Portuguese "você" (vous) became the norm and "tu" is only seldom used. In Portugal "tu" is the norm.


In the South (specially Rio Grande do Sul) and some states of North and Northeast, people still use "tu". I am from Bahia and I have always used "tu" with friends, although we conjugate it as if it was "você". For exemplo: "tu quer", and not "tu queres"


I'm also from Bahia and I use "você", theres "tu" in Bahia only far from the capital I think. There's always going to be exceptions, but most of the country uses você.


"Você" is not "vous", though, that's "vós", which is still used in Portugal. "Você" is a contraption of "vossa mercê" which is, yes, a formal treatment pronoun/expression conjugated in the 2nd plural - still, slight difference.


French here. We still use "vous" in all the situations you describe. We would only use "tu" with friends, family, sometimes with your colleagues if you know them well enough or if they ask you to do so. On the Internet though, I would say "tu" or "vous" - either is fine. The other situation where you can use "tu" by default is if you're young (~ less than 25 y.o.) and you talk to another young people.


I tend to treat talking to people on the internet the same as if it was in person. So, if it's the first time I talked to said person, I use "vous". I don't typically use "tu" until I've done something with them a few more times.


I would use tu because it is less formal vous is more about talking to someone that has a higher social than you like the president or an ambassidor (no refrence to the duolingo ambassidor)

[deactivated user]

    My teacher told me to use Tu if you wanna be informal. Vous if you wanna be formal


    i think "Tu" would be better option.


    Either can be used, but 'tu' is rather informal and should be used towards family members, friends and GROUPS OF PEOPLE. 'Vous', on the other hand, is rather formal and should be used with teachers, elders, bosses, RANDOM PEOPLE, etc.


    I think for people you dont now say vous. For people you do know say tu. Once someone said tu to a stranger and she got super angry. Hahaha


    You would use "vous" when you try to be formal, or when you speak to a lot of people. "tu" is not formal, and you speak to one single person.


    On Discord I have been told by a couple of people from French that when speaking to people online you generally use tu.


    I think in the beginning, you should begin with 'vous' or wait until the other person uses, 'tu' or ASK which they would prefer you to use. If you're kids, then "tu" is probably fine. Adults, you should give the matter more thought, I'd guess. So I would ask them, or when you're relationship shifts to more of a friendship, then I think 'tu' would be acceptable. "Tu" is more informal and intimate, whereas "vous" is more formal and respectful. You would definitly use "vous" with older people, during business, or new aquaintances.


    But since it's the internet on a videogame, I daresay "tu" is acceptable...even if it IS a adult :) You're all good.


    What sort of games are you playing? I've had a tricky time finding French speaking internet places.


    This is referring to Roblox, hah! I joined a Roblox French speakers discord, and I’ve met a few people there. The other day, I randomly encountered a few French speaking players in Roblox survivor, and I was surprised by how much I could understand and communicate with them.


    There is no doubt that 'tu' is appropriate in these circumstances.


    Either would be fine.

    • 1312

    Generally on Facebook, or whatever, I use the familiar form. This seems to suit. I find that some friends who are younger and less qualified than I am will use more formal language. I have not actually suggested to them that they should use a familiar form. Most people respond to me in a familiar form. This goes for Italian and French. My German Friend always uses English and my few messages to her I believe to be in the familiar form. I have multiple French and Italian friends.


    I personally would use tu. I only use vous for people of higher authority or social status (like teachers, senior citizens or bosses), using it when meeting other people in a casual setting isn't necessary. If you're not sure, you can always ask, but most people will say to use tu. (It's kind of arrogant to ask someone your age to use vous)


    you use tu when you av close to them. like with your friends siblings ang peer. this is because tu is informal. we use vous i formal situation lite when youre talking with elderly , teachers, your boss. some people also use vous to their parents(depends on personal preference)


    'Vous' is formal, therefore it should be used around people you do not know or people such as your boss. 'Tu' is informal, so it should be used in the company of freinds and family and freinds of freinds.

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