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  5. "Hello, how are you?"

"Hello, how are you?"

Translation:Bonjour, comment vas-tu ?

December 23, 2012



Actually, the closer translation is "bonjour, comment vas-tu / allez-vous ?"


Would 'Comment ça va' be extremely informal or altogether lacking as a phrase?


its correct but its informal


I wrote: "salut, comment vas tu ?" Without the "-", got it wrong :/ They should let it pass but tell you something like "you forgot the "-" sign"


It should have been fine as long as there was a space between the words. I never use hyphens or diacritical marks unless my phone auto corrects it for me


yes, but that is simply because you're not using correct punctuation. its called text talk. i don't use apostrophes and etc when typing to others in an informal or non professional manner. For example, in English, dont , wouldnt , couldnt etc. are actually incorrect without their punctuations.. same with English words using hyphens.. thats why your phone corrects it because it is technically not right.


punctuation can be necessary in cases with the word its and it's ..

  • hell, he'll
  • shell, she'll
  • well, we'll
  • Ill, I'll
  • were, we're
  • Id, I'd
  • shed, she'd
  • wed, we'd
  • cant, can't
  • wont, won't


Maybe I'm one of the few people who uses apostrophes in text messages but I'm trying to think of an example where context wouldn't make the true meaning obvious.


Not using hyphens and diacritics and other sloppy language makes it more difficult for others to understand you. It is especially challenging for non-native speakers of the language.


Also doesnt salut mean "hi" amd bonjour mean "hello"?


I'm guessing this was the real reason for it being marked incorrect.


Why would the hyphen be needed in this case? This is matter of a direct object, right? Not, "inversion"?


"allez-vous" or "vas-tu" is an inversion, used in formal interrogative forms and the hyphen is required.

The affirmative form is "vous allez" or "tu vas".


What is meant by interrogative and affirmative and inversion?


The best way to find out meanings of words is to look them up in a dictionary. "Interrogative" is from the word "interrogate" which means "to ask questions". "Inversion" is from the word "invert" which means turn upside down. "Affirmative" is from the word "affirm" which means "to state that something is true", so an affirmative statement is one that is positive.


Which is completely unhelpful to someone who has never heard of "inversion" as a language construct.

¿uoısɹǝʌuı uɐ sıɥʇ sI

[deactivated user]

    Yes, " 'Inversion' is from the word 'invert' which means turn upside down." But in the discussions here, it means "to reverse [word order]". "tu vas" is a statement; to change it to a question, one does an "inversion" to "vas-tu?"


    Well, @yetanothername, if you used a good dictionary like Cambridge, it actually does explain inversion with regard to grammar: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/grammar/british-grammar/word-order-and-focus/inversion


    Hmm, i didnt use the hyphen and it was still accepted. It didn't even say in the green bar that there was a typo. It's odd because I was always told to use the hyphen. 1/07/2019.


    Please keep on using the hyphen even if Duolingo is being lenient.


    "Bonjour, comment tu vas ?" is also accepted.


    Isn't comment vas-tus / allez-vous the more formal version? At least that's what I learned in my French class. (Also, I couldn't remember this phrase, thanks for commenting)


    It's comment vas-tu (not "tus"). Inversion is generally considered to be a bit more formal/polite.


    How do say allez vous? And how say it


    If you type it out on Google Translate and click on the speaker icon, you can hear how to say it.

    I have done that for you here for just those two words then the greeting with the liaison.


    I thought that Salut was "Hi" and Bonjour was "good day" or "Hello"??


    It is. But some say that "salut" also means hello. mostly it's an informal way of greeting someone. usually used for people you know.


    Why is "comment ca va" wrong, but "comment tu vas" is right?


    If you hold down the c in Français, you'll get the necessaty ç symbol for "ça”. "Ça" sounds like "Sa". Otherwise, "ca" with the hard syllable does not exist.


    Hi-Salut, Hello-Bonjour. >< that's what i thought


    I came across this variation of above given salutation "comment vous portez vous" is it old fashioned now?


    Comment vous portez-vous ? or comment te portes-tu ? is a bit old fashioned, but still very nice.


    So that in a sense means "How are you carrying yourself?" What would the response be? "Je me porte bien"?


    Yes, indeed. As if the fact that your legs can carry the rest of your body were a sign of good health.


    In English we do say "You carry yourself very well," "You carry yourself with grace and dignity," or "You carry yourself with elegance and poise." Of course, the opposite of that is "You make a fool of yourself." So if someone asks how my day was going, I would say, "Not good. I made a fool out of myself." So I can see why it's part of a greeting.


    Thanks for the info!

    The translations of your examples would use the verb "se comporter":

    • tu te comportes très bien
    • tu te comportes avec grâce, dignité, élégance et prestance.
    • tu te comportes comme un crétin/idiot/imbécile
    • je me suis comporté comme un.../je me suis ridiculisé


    "You carry yourself ..." is about posture, comportment or bearing. As such, "to make a fool of oneself" is not exactly the opposite. The Police song "Born in the '50s" mentions the King falling down the stairs. He carried himself well and yet he still made a fool of himself.


    Haha. Thanks. Every time I think I know something, I don't :-(


    What's the difference between "comment ça va" and "comment ça vas"


    "ça", juste like its translation "that" is 3rd person singular. Therefore the conjugation is 3rd person singular which in French never gets an S: "Comment ça va ?"


    We can see the informal nature of the French when we translate it more literally, like saying "How's it going?" = Comment ça va ? "Vas" is the 2nd person singular conjugation, though. It doesn't work in this sentence.


    I did Italian for a little while, and if my memory serves me well than "salute" is the same as "bless you" and a way of saying "be safe." So is Italian just not very close to French at all? I would really appreciate some help with this question, because I want to know so that I stop making the mistake of using Italian to figure out what I'm supposed to say. Thank you for any help or responses I receive.


    I've started learning both Italian and Spanish and they seem closer to each other than they are to French. You have to remember that the meanings of words change over time and that each language is under no obligation to stay in line with any other language.

    A little bit of research shows that French « salut » and Italian "salute" both come from Latin "salus"/"salutem", however, they now mean different things. You need to learn each word separately and whether they're related in meaning to words you already know or not.


    Thank you for your very informational comment. Also, I seen you reply to many people very accurately (from what I understand) and I was wondering, why are you not a moderator when you obviously know a decent amount of info about languages?


    I know very little about how Duolingo's moderator system works, but apparently you have to be nominated, probably by another moderator. There might only be a certain number of moderator spots. Or, perhaps I'm just too rude! :-)


    Southern Italy was ruled by Spain for 3 centuries which explains why those languages are closer to each other than French


    The question was to choose a good translation for "Hello, how are you". Two of the three options were "Bonjour, ça vas?" and "Bonjour, ça va?" and I chose the former one and it was incorrect. I thought it "ça vas?" might be used for a close "tu" person. Can somebody tell me why this is wrong? Thanks.


    The verb aller must agree with the subject which in this case is ça and that would take the third person conjugation va not the second person conjugation vas.


    Thanks! Reading your comment, I went to Wiktionary and learned that ça is a shortened form of cela, which means "that". I really appreciate your help.


    Bonjour is good morning, isn't it?


    "Bonjour" can be used any time during daylight hours. In general, it is just a polite "hello", but in the morning you might use it for "good morning", and in the afternoon you might use it when you would say "good afternoon". "Salut" is an informal way of saying "hi", "bye", or "hello", "goodbye" to a friend. It is not used as "good morning" or "good afternoon".


    Can one also say "Hola" like it is said in Spanish?


    Not if you are speaking French! That would be like asking "Can you say salut in English like they say in French?"


    The French book I am following uses it in some of their examples when one person is looking for another other, calling out Holà! and then gives this entry in their glossary;

    holà (ola) interj. hallo!

    I also visited "le Trésor de la langue française informatisé", after this lesson and found this example usage;

    Holà, ne faites pas tant de bruit (Ac.).

    So I am beginning to feel that in the context of making a statement unexpectedly and interrupting the other person or trying to catch their attention that holà is hello.

    So, in the scenario where a French speaker catches you off guard they could say "Holà, comment ça va?" would that be a correct way of saying "Hello, how are you?"?


    "hola" is not used in France, and it is not a French word.

    "oh la !" is an onomatopea you can use to mean "hold on!", when you are suddently surprised, taken aback, frightened...

    When you answer the phone, you say "allo !"


    It is formal way to say 'hello' just like 'good morning' is in English but you can use it any time of day unlike 'good morning'


    Isn't there a circumflex above allo? I wrote "allô, ça va?" and I got wrong!


    Good question: "allo ?" (no circumflex) is exclusively used on the phone to establish the first contact.


    Could you write it "Salute es ça va bein?


    I believe you could say "salut et ca va bien?", much like you could say "hello and how are you going?" but I would be careful to put a pause after "hello" in speech or a comma in writing otherwise it sounds quite odd.


    Okay, so what does this mean? : "Allô, comment appelez-vous ?" It was an option.


    It means "Hello (like you say on the phone), what is your name?"


    If you got it in a MCQ, you should remember that you are requested to tick all correct answers and consequently, the other one(s) are wrong, irrelevant and often meaningless.


    "...comment vas-tu" for singular n "...comment allez-vous" for plural, huh? What's the significance of this hyphen form? Does "comment vas tu" make sense? :/


    Hyphens are required in interrogative inversions verb-subject, and also in imperative between verb and object pronoun:

    • comment allez-vous ? (how are you?)
    • apporte-nous du thé, s'il te plaît ! (bring us some tea, please!)


    what does allez-vous mean?


    "are you going"


    Can someone explain the usage/meaning/conjugation of " ça" and "vas"? And how they correlate to each other?


    "ça" is the shortened version of "cela", used in spoken French.

    It means "this/that thing" or "it".

    "vas" is the 2nd person singular ("tu" = familiar "you") conjugation of verb "aller" (to go).

    "How are you?" uses verb "to be" to inquire about someone's health.

    In French, the verb used is "aller".

    so "how are you?" translates to "comment (how) vas (go) -tu (you) ?"

    "comment vas-tu ?" is closer to "how are you going?"

    "comment ça va ?" or "ça va ?" literally means "how are things doing/going?"


    I used Àllo and it didn't accept my answer! Also Duolingo said that joli is the same as sympa! It isn't! I learned four years ago that sympa is sympathetic not nice!!


    allo (no accent) is used as your first word on the phone. There is no indication here that the sentence has such context.

    this girl is really nice = cette fille est vraiment gentille, agréable, aimable, sympa

    this dress is nice = cette robe est jolie, ravissante, sympa

    So, "nice" and "sympa" are good friends as they very often translate one another.


    Can I say "Salut, bien ça va"?


    It would sound like: hi, fine are you? (very Yoda-like)


    What about "Salut, comment est tu?"


    Comment est tu ? is not only grammatically incorrect (The conjugation of the verb être for the second person tu is es) but also idiomatically incorrect as that is not how you say "how are you?" in French. It would have to be comment vas-tu ?


    Why isnt "comment vous etes" right? It was "how are you?" And the correct answer was "comment vous allez"


    Think of it as "How are you going?". Then you'll get the French translation. In English there are many ways to ask and "How are you?" is short for some of them because it doesn't really make sense by itself.

    • How do you do? (excessively formal)
    • How are you going?
    • How are you doing?
    • How's it going?
    • etc.


    Why is "Bonjour, comment-allez vous?" almost correct? Where did I go wrong?


    Maybe the space missing before the question mark?


    No, it is not the missing space before the question mark. It is the placement of the hyphen in the wrong place. The correct phrase would be Bonjour, comment allez-vous ? The hyphen comes between the last two words allez and vous, not between comment and allez.


    "Ca Va?" Is the short form of "Comment Cava?"


    No, "Comment ça va ?" is everyday French for "how's it going?" There is no "cava".


    But "Ça va ?" is the short form of "Comment ça va ?", which I think is what was meant, George!


    what is the informal form of this sentence?


    How informal do you want to get? Like "Hi! What's up?"

    Salut! Quoi de neuf ?


    "Quoi de neuf ?" is literally "What's new?".

    Isn't "What's up?" closer to:

    • "Qu'y a-t-il ?" (Lit: What's there?)


    • "Ça roule ?" (Lit: How's it rolling?)
    • "Qu'est-ce qui se passe ?" (Lit: What's occurring?)


    If you are talking about the greeting, then quoi de neuf ? is how you say "what's up?"

    Translations are not always literal. "How are you?" is Comment vas-tu ? which also is not a literal translation. Neither is "It is cold", Il fait froid.

    Qu'y a-t-il ? means "what is wrong?" so yes, if that is the meaning you meant to convey rather than the greeting. I was translating the greeting which can also be stated as "What's happening?"


    So, what then would you say is the French equivalent of "What's new?" ?


    Oddly enough, when I am given the French sentence "Salut, comment ça va?" first, it says I am wrong when I translate it to "Hello, how are you?", claiming that the translation is actually "Hey, how are you?" However, when it gives me the English sentence "Hello, how are you?" first, the word bank only has the translation "Salut, comment ça va?" Is this something I need to report?


    On principle, every single translation must be the closest possible to the original, in all aspects.

    "Hello" is less formal than "good morning" but more than "hi", so the prime translation should be "salut" or "bonjour".

    "how are you" has "how", which should and can translate to "comment"

    "how are you" has "you", which should translate to "tu" or "vous".

    That should be your order of priority and therefore "Hello, how are you?" has among its best translations, "Salut/Bonjour, comment vas-tu / allez-vous ?".

    If you apply the above principles to every translation, you should not have issues with your submissions.


    Why not, "Allo, comment ça va?"


    I wrote comment allez vous and it was wrong? Since when? This is the polite term when meeting strangers in a professional setting. Je pense qu'il y a une problème!!


    The hyphen is not optional. It is required in inversion in French. You would have been marked correct if you had written: Bonjour, comment allez-vous ?


    should we use formal French with all older people and of 'higher status'?


    Hello Mark, Hope you are doing well. From my knowledge, we should use formal French for our elders and people who we do not know personally.


    I wrote "salut" for "hello" in french. They marked me wrong. Why? If "hi" means "salut", the same can be said for " hello" too, I suppose? Or they hold different meaning altogether in french language?


    Salut is not as formal as "hello". It is as informal as "hi". If you were meeting the Queen of England, you would be advised not to say "hi" to her, but "hello" may be OK. Accuracy of translation is important. Back translating is a good way to check how accurate your translation is.


    Why is "Bonjour, comment vas-tu ?" correct as well? Can anyone explain subjects to me?


    Is your confusion about the pronouns tu and vous? They both mean "you". Tu is always singular. Vous can be the plural of tu or the alternative of tu and therefore it too can be used to address a single person if that person is:

    • unfamiliar to you; or

    • more senior than you in age or rank.

    Vous is used when you want to show respect.

    So you choose the greeting depending on whom you are addressing.

    Here is a little more info on greetings: https://frenchtogether.com/how-are-you-in-french/


    how do we know what context we are to use when all i was told is to transolate "hello, how are you" in to french . i put comment ca va (correct) but the real correct answer was commeent vas-tu


    What exactly was your complete answer? AFAIK, all correct answers are accepted. So there may have been something else wrong with your answer.

    Since "ça va ?" means something different from "ça va", leaving out the punctuation mark may be a reason to be marked wrong.


    There is no such thing as a "real correct answer" on Duolingo. The site just suggests possible translations that are *also * correct. If you are wondering about when to say what, here is a non-exhaustive list of ways to translate "Hello, how are you" in order of least formal to most formal with some approximate English equivalents and notes:

    "slt cv" or "bj cv" are used exclusively online and are not accepted on Duolingo. "Salut, quoi de neuf ?" is for extremely casual conversation. It could be approximated by "Hey, what's new?" or "Hi, what's up?" "Salut/Bonjour, ça va ?" is for close friends and family. Salut is closer to hi and bonjour is like hello. "Salut/Bonjour, comment ça va ?" "Bonjour comment vas-tu?" "Bonjour, comment allez-vous"

    In general, salut is less formal than bonjour; tu is informal and singular you; vous is formal when talking to one person and for plural you; abbreviating and dropping words is less formal than saying the "comment"; affirmative questions ("tu viens où?") are less formal than phrasal questions ("Où est-ce que tu viens") which are, in turn, less formal than inverted questions ("Où viens-tu ?").




    "Bonjour" is the standard polite way to say "hello" in French.


    How is "Hello, how are you" wrong? If my answer was "Salut, ça va?" Grr... it says I should have answered "Bonjour, ça va"


    To me Bonjour has always meant hello. perhaps it is like tu and vous... in that Bonjour is formal and general, and salut is less formal and used in greeting people that you know.


    "bonjour" mostly means good morning although you are not wrong in saying it means "hello"


    It lets you use this translation now as I just did and got it right.


    told me comment t'allez vous is wrong? am i right


    No you are not right. There is no t' between comment and allez, and there is hyphen between allez and vous. The correct phrase for "how are you?" is:

    Comment allez-vous ?

    Also, for this particular exercise, you need bonjour before the phrase to represent "hello".


    @mere_des_chats thank you


    What is the difference between "ca va" and "vas tu" and the others?


    Do you read the discussion before rushing to post? I ask because the discussion does cover the meanings you ask about. Also, when it comes to meanings, dictionaries are good resources too. As is doing an online search for the topic of interest.


    I answered this correctly, clicked the green tab and it froze. Started clicking on other word tiles, clicked the green tab and it marked me wrong. Doomed right from the beginning, I guess.


    I read this as "Hello, are you OK?"


    Good morning, TELL ME WHERE YOU ARE GOING!!!!!!!!


    I really wish people would stop saying that "Bonjour" means "Good morning". It's right in the word "Bon-jour" literally means "Good-day" and yes, it's often used in place of "Hello" like people used to say in English as well. We've just become very informal in English most of the time these days. I was also taught that "Salut" is quite informal and only really used with friends and family. We were not supposed to use it in school with teachers. It's that kind of informal.


    Why not, "Allo, comment ça va?"


    Interesting, the correct answer shown here "Bonjour, comment vas-tu?" was not one of the three options available. I chose ”Bonjour, ça va?" and was correct.


    is "vas" and "tu" interchangeable? I answer it as "comment tu vas" and it's correct...


    Why is not Comme ca va???


    "Bonjour, comment ça va ?" should work, but Duo might feel that it strays too far from "how are you?".


    The interrogative "how?" is "comment ?"

    "Comme" is not interrogative and means "like" or "as".


    Both are the same answer


    Why is ...ça vas tu wrong ?


    You have too many words in the sentence, and two of them are trying to be the Subject of the verb, which is one too many.

    You can say "Comment ça va ?" ("How goes it?"/"How's it going?") or "Comment vas-tu ?" / "Comment tu vas ?" ("How are you?"), but you cannot cram both into one sentence.


    @GraemeSarg Thank you for this helpful information.


    Incidentally, either question can be answered with "Ça va." ("It's okay."/"I'm alright.") accompanied by a Gallic shrug and an optional wave of your Gauloise.

    Or, if you're feeling a bit more optimistic than the average Frenchman: "Ça va bien, merci." ("I'm good, thanks."/"It's going well, thanks.").


    Why is my answer wrong? Hi, comment allez-vous? Please explain


    "Hi" is Franglais, not French.

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