When you start to learn French – or, indeed, any language – one of the first things you need to master is how to say “yes” and “no.” After all, it’ll be tough to get anywhere en français if you don’t even know how to answer a simple yes or no question!
With this guide, you’ll learn the basics of how to say yes in French, as well as some handy additional phrases so you can give an affirmative answer more like a native French speaker.
So, how do you say yes in French?
Yes in French: The short answer
The direct translation for “yes” in French is a simple oui. Oui is the most basic French “yes.”
If you’re filling out a form, you’ll see oui and non for yes and no. It’s a handy word to know and can be used in conversation as well as in writing to say yes. However, just like with “yes” in English, there are many other ways you can say “yes,” depending on the situation.
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Yes in French: The long answer
In English, we have many words for yes, like “yeah,” “OK,” “of course,” “absolutely,” even “okey-dokey.” French, similarly, has many different ways to communicate a yes.
There are 10 ways to say yes in French
Yes in French goes way beyond just oui. Here are the many ways you could say a friendly – or not so friendly – “yes” in French.
Oui is “Yes” in French
How to say it: we (like the English word “we”)
As discussed above, oui is the most basic “yes” in French.
2. Bien sûr
Bien sûr is “of course in French”
How to say it: bee-enh soohr
If you want to learn how to say “of course” in French, bien sûr is the phrase you’re looking for!
This very common idiomatic phrase literally means “very sure,” but is used to say “of course” or “certainly.” It could also be used ironically. For example:
L'eau, ça mouille .
Ben bien sûr !
Water is wet.
Of course (duh)!
Je suis amie avec Brad Pitt .
Oui mais bien sûr .
I am friends with Brad Pitt.
Sure you are.
That said, if you’re looking for a more annoyed “of course” – something like a “well, yeah,” or “duh” – you could also say ben oui (sometimes spelled as bah oui), a slightly slangy phrase, or mais oui, which literally means “but yes.”
Ouais is “yeah” in French
How to say it: way
Ouais is a common, casual way to say “yeah” in French. It’s pronounced like the English word “way” or a shorter “weh.” You may hear it used in casual French conversation or on French TV and radio.
D’accord is “OK” in French
How to say it: da-kor (“da” as in dad)
D’accord is a handy phrase, meaning, simply, “OK.” It comes from the same root as the English “accord”, as in ‘to have an accord’ or ‘be in accordance with’ something, so it basically means you’re in agreement. But functionally, it’s used like OK – and is sometimes shortened to d’ac when in a rush.
But, if you’re wondering how to say OK in French, you may be surprised to learn that you can also simply say, “OK.” French speakers sometimes use the word OK, just as we do – just with a bit more of a French accent.
5. Ça roule
Ça roule means “it rolls” in French
How to say it: Sah rool (like “rule”)
Ça roule is a particularly slangy (not in a vulgar way, just very informal) way to say “OK” in French. It literally means, “it rolls,” but can be used to say “all good” or “that works.” People also sometimes use it like ça va ? to ask how things are going.
6. Oui oui
Oui oui is “yes yes” in French
How to say it: we we
Oui oui, or “yes yes” in French is a phrase that non-French speakers will often have heard through television portrayals of French characters, but might not be used exactly how you think – or as often.
Saying oui oui is actually fairly uncommon among French speakers, and when it is said, it’s typically used to add emphasis or convey annoyance. It can be sort of like, “yeah, yeah” – so pay attention to the tone of how it’s said!
Évidemment is “obviously” in French
How to say it: eh-vee-duh-me(nt)
Évidemment is a common French word used to say “obviously.” People use it to say “yes” when they mean “yes, obviously” or “yes, of course.” For example, if a friend came over and asked if they could have a glass of water, you might respond évidemment!
8. C’est bon
C’est bon is “all good” in French
How to say it: Say bohnh
C’est bon or oui, c’est bon means “it’s good” or “yes, it’s good.” This is another possible way to say “yes” in French, just depending on context. C’est bon on its own is a phrase that’s used in many different ways – to say “it’s good,” “all good,” or “that’s good.”
You could say oui, c’est bon when asked if your meal is good or to say that, yes, meeting at 9 works for you.
9. C’est ça
C’est ça is “that’s it” in French
How to say it: Say-sah
Oui, c’est ça is a very common French phrase which means, “yes, that’s it.” It’s typically used as a confirmation. “You missed the party because your cat was sick?” C’est ça. “That pink limo is your car?” Oui, c’est ça. “I think the problem is that he’s jealous of you.” C’est ça!
It can also be used sarcastically, like a “yeah, right,” depending on context and tone.
One more yes: Can’t you say “si” in French?
Yes! Or should we say, si !
How to say it: like a short English “see” or the Spanish “sí”
Si in French is what’s called the contradictory yes. It’s only used to say “yes” to answer a question that was asked in the negative.
Meaning you’d want to answer, “Can you use si in French?” with, “Oui !” But you’d answer, “You can’t use si to say yes in French?” with “Si !” It’s a contradictory yes to say, “yes, actually, you can!”
Does that not make sense? (Did you answer, “si !”?)
To make it clearer, here’s an example of when to use si versus oui to say “yes” in French:
Tu aimes le fromage ?
Do you like cheese?
Tu n'aimes pas le fromage ?
Don't you like cheese?
Yes, of course I do!
That said, si has several other meanings in French as well as the contradictory yes.
In French, si can be used to say “if,” “as,” “so,” “while,” “whereas,” and “however” – among other things! So, if you hear it in conversation, you’ll need to pay attention to context clues to understand which si it is.
But wait, there’s more! Looking for a specific yes in French?
There are still many more options! Here are even more ways to say yes in French.
Other ways to say “yes” in French
|French Phrase||English Meaning|
|Pourquoi pas?||Why not?|
|Mouais||Uh, yeah, kind of, sort of|
|Avec plaisir||With pleasure|
|Tout à fait||Yes, that’s right|
|Ça marche||That works|
|Très bien||Very good|
And now you know how to say “yes” in French
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So what do you say?