16 Easy Ways to Ask and Reply to “How Are You” in French [with Pronunciation]

Knowing how to ask “How are you?” is fundamental for meeting people or making friends in French.

Read on to learn different ways to ask “How are you?” in French, with a brief explanation of each phrase.

And don’t forget to click on the phrase to hear it pronounced!


How to Ask “How Are You” in French

1. Comment allez-vous ?  — How are you?

Comment allez-vous ? is the most basic way of asking “how are you” in French. Note that vous, the formal “you,” is what makes the phrase formal. 

You would use this version with people seen as superior to you such as a boss, a teacher or an elder.

You also use vous for a plural “you,” so if you’re asking two or more people how they are, you use this version as well.

Notice that with the verb aller, you’re not so much asking “How are you?” but rather “How are you going?” 

Also note that we use a hyphen and switch the subject and the verb in order to form a question.

2. Comment ça va ? — How’s it going?

Comment ça va ? is an informal version of Comment allez-vous ?, so you should expect a similar response. 

Use this less formal version with friends, family and those of similar social status to you.

3. Comment vas-tu ? — How are you?

Comment vas-tu ? is the most accurate informal way of saying Comment allez-vous ?

The main difference here is that we’ve replaced vous with tu.

4. Ça va ? — How’s it going?

Ça va (“how’s it going,” or “are you okay”) is an even more informal way of asking Comment ça va ? Alternatively, it can express concern as in asking if someone is okay.

It’s generally used with people you know very well.

5. Tu vas bien ? / Vous allez bien ? You’re doing well?

Tu vas bien/vous allez bien ? (you’re doing well) can be used to ask “How are you?” or to express preoccupation, depending on the tone and context.

When speaking French, we can ask questions by just raising the tone of our voice, so we don’t have to use Est-ce que or a  hyphen.

6. Quoi de neuf ? — What’s new?

Quoi de neuf ? isn’t exactly asking “How are you?” but it’s still a question you can ask when you start a conversation.

It can also be translated as “What’s up?” and is an informal question you ask someone you haven’t seen in a while.

7. Qu’est-ce qu’il y a ? — What’s wrong?

Qu’est-ce qu’il y a ? is used to express concern and can be both formal and informal.

Although it doesn’t exactly mean “How are you?” it’s a common way to start a conversation with someone you know.

8. Que fais-tu ? — What’s up?

Que fais-tu ? literally means “What are you doing,” but it’s a great conversation starter because it can also be interpreted as “What’s up?”

This is informal because of the use of tu.

Responses to “How Are You?” in French

If you haven’t been exposed to too much French yet, there are some great resources out there that’ll help you practice asking and replying to “How are you?” as well as other basic greetings. 

For example you could try watching TV shows in French, or authentic French videos with interactive subtitles on FluentU.

If you want to see the phrases in this post used in action, you can try searching for them in the video dictionary and the language learning program will dig up any videos in its library that use that phrase.

This will allow you to see words and phrases used in context by native French speakers, and help you develop more natural sounding French as a result.

FluentU is available on iOS and Android.

1. Bien, merci ! — Good, thanks!

The most common response to “How are you?” in French is simple Bien, merci ! (Good, thanks!). You can also keep the conversation going by adding Bien, et vous ? (Well, and you?).

The key is the et vous (and you), which prompts a similar answer.

2. Ça va bien, et toi ? — It’s going well, how about you?

Another common reply to “How are you” in French, specifically when someone is asking you Comment ça va ? (How’s it going?), is Ça va bien, et toi ? (It’s going well, how about you?). It’s a polite phrase you can use in most situations. 

3. Oui, je vais bien, et toi/vous ? — Yeah, I’m fine, and you?

If someone asks you how you’re doing with Tu vas bien/vous allez bien (you’re doing well), a great answer is Oui, je vais bien, et toi/vous ? (Yeah, I’m fine, and you?).

4. Comme ci, comme ça  — Okay

When you want to reply to Ça va (“how’s it going,” or “are you okay”), you can say Comme ci, comme ça. It literally means “like this, like that,” however it’s used to mean “okay.”

If someone is asking if you’re okay, you can just say Oui, ça va, merci (I’m okay, thank you).

5. Pas grand-chose — Not much

If you’re having a casual conversation when a friend is asking you Que fais-tu ? (What’s up?), you can reply with Pas grand-chose (Not much).

You can also say:

  • Rien de spécial (Nothing special)
  • Rien de nouveau (Nothing new)

6. Ça va mal — It’s not going well

If you’re not doing well when someone is asking how you are, then you can say Ça va mal (It’s not going well).

7. Non, je ne vais pas bien — I’m not doing well

If Ça va mal is too easy for you, you could try this slightly longer alternative to say “I’m not doing well”: Non, je ne vais pas bien.

8. T’inquiète (pas), je vais bien — Don’t worry, I’m fine

Finally, this is a good phrase to use if someone asks you what is wrong (Qu’est-ce qu’il y a ?).

If nothing is wrong, you can say T’inquiète (pas), je vais bien (Don’t worry, I’m fine).

Otherwise, you can try to explain what’s happening!


As you can see, there are several ways to ask “How are you?” depending on what exactly you want to ask and who you’re talking to.

Obviously, memorizing whole sentences is not the best way to learn French, but there are some fundamental phrases that even beginners can learn to get quick conversation practice.

Enter your e-mail address to get your free PDF!

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe