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French Words

How to say how are you in French?

In this short guide you will learn how to say how are you in French?

French and wondering how to expand your vocabulary?

As you will have guessed there are many ways to express the same idea.

You don’t have to wait to reach an advanced level of French to begin acquiring an important amount of words!

Let’s take a simple question such as “how are you”.

Well, did you know that there are many ways to ask this in French?

Yes, I’m not kidding my dear!

Let’s check them all so you’ll sound (more or less nearly) fluent as soon as you’ll start speaking!

How to say how are you in French?

1) The most common one : comment allez-vous?

Even though this means “how are you”, you will have noticed (I know you’ve seen it straight away but just in case you haven’t…) that there is the verb “to go” and not the verb “to be” like there is in English. An easy way to remember this is to translate “comment allez-vous” by “how is it going”.

Now, I need to be clear: “comment allez-vous” is a lot more formal than “how is it going”. You could use this expression either when you speak to one person you address formally using “vous” or to a group of people that you either address as “vous” or as “tu”.


2) The informal version of “comment allez-vous”: comment vas-tu?

This one is in between the formal “how are you” seen above and an even more informal one that I will tell you about after (patience!). It’s considered as informal as it uses “tu” (the informal French “you”). I tend to use “comment vas-tu” when I write to a friend rather than when I speak.


3) The friendly spoken “comment vas-tu”: “comment tu vas”

This is the even more informal one I mentioned above. Why is it more casual than “comment vas- tu”? Yes, you’ve got it in one: it’s because the verb and the subject are not in reversing order like they should be when asking a question.


4) The very simple (but very used) way to say “how are you”: ça va?

It is rather colloquial but very common in spoken communication. You can use this one with friends and family or even work colleagues. Anyone you know really as long as you are a bit familiar with them. It can also be used when writing texts to your friends or to anyone belonging to your close circle.


How you learned the basic French words to start a conversation

5) The affirmation pronounced as a question: “tu vas bien?

When you’re using this one, you’re not really asking a question. Well, yes, you are but only thanks to your accentuation.

Grammatically speaking, it isn’t a question as the subject is before the verb. Not an issue at all though as French people often use this sentence structure when they speak (not when they write a formal letter). It is very commonly used.


6) The one I really do not like (please don’t use it)

Right, it might be my geeky side talking but I’m so reluctant to tell you about that one. Ok, let’s do it: “sa va”. Ugh!

For some reasons I ignore some people write this expression instead of “ça va”.

It sounds the same, yes, but why use “sa” which means “her” instead of “ça”? Same amount of letters as well so it’ not an abbreviation.

A strange one but you need to know about it as you might see it, especially on social networks. Again though, I strongly advise you not to use it.

Thanks to these different ways to say “how are you” in French you can now vary your vocabulary and sound more fluent!



Did you ever asked how are you in french to anyone and how does it go?

Please do share your story in the comment section below!

Side Note: Want a light introduction to French Courses Online? Check Out Our French Courses Online for Beginners