There’s an undeniable connection between the world of amour (love) and the French language.
I mean, there’s a reason why it’s poetically known as la langue d’amour (the language of love)!
It’s not hard to fall in love with the French language, and it’s even easier to fall for a French-speaking country.
Maybe you spent some time abroad and made life-long friends you’ll love forever.
Or, perhaps you went to a French-speaking country and found the love of your life before returning home!
Whatever the situation is, you’ve found yourself swept up by passion for someone or something that’s far away.
If that’s the case, there’s arguably no expression as important as this one:
“I miss you.”
Whether it’s a Christmas card to your French host mom or a romantic goodbye on the platform of a train station, let’s dive in and learn how to say this essential, emotionally-charged phrase.
“I Miss You” in French: A Must-know Phrase from the Language of Love
How to Say “I Miss You” in French
Saying “I miss you” in French uses the French verb manquer.
The most basic way to say “I miss you” in French is tu me manques (I miss you).
This is how you’d say it if you’re talking to one other person in an informal setting, and you don’t want to add any embellishments.
But you’re a French language learner, so you probably aren’t content to just memorize a phrase and check a box, right? The truth is, saying “I miss you” in French is a lot more complicated than just memorizing the words tu me manques.
So, let’s dig a little deeper…
The Origin of Manquer and How It Can Help You
Etymology (word origin) can sometimes have real value when it comes to creating associations and remembering the meanings of new vocabulary words. The origin of the word manquer (to miss), in particular, can be highly useful for understanding how to say “I miss you” in French.
Manquer comes from the Italian mancare, which means “to be lacking something.” Pay attention—that word origin is important! Being aware of it will help you as we begin to explore the grammar behind missing someone in French.
What do I mean, you ask?
Thinking in Opposites to Remember “I Miss You” in French
Compare these two phrases:
I miss you.
Tu me manques.
Do you notice something fishy?
Yep, you’ve got it! In English, the subject of the sentence is “I.” But in French, the subject is tu (you).
Accordingly, in the English “I miss you,” the object is “you.” In the French tu me manques, the object is me (me).
In other words, the pronouns are opposites of one another.
Here’s where that etymology fact comes into play. Remember how manquer comes from a word meaning “to be lacking something”?
Well, the pronouns are reversed because the French phrase tu me manques translates literally into “you are missing from me.”
We can use this information to create our own visualization trick. From now on, each time you want to express “I miss you” in French, picture the other person as being “missing from you” or “lacking from you.”
This will help you remember the literal meaning of “I miss you” in French, and it’ll help you keep your pronouns straight!
How to Pronounce “I Miss You” in French
Let’s take a look at how to pronounce the present tense forms of “I miss you” using vous and tu, the French personal pronouns for “you.”
In addition to providing audio pronunciations, I’ve also included phonetic transcriptions from the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) so that you can pronounce “I miss you” like a pro!
For those who aren’t familiar, the IPA is a standardized set of phonetic symbols that you can use to learn to pronounce any word. If you haven’t seen these symbols before, you can use an International Phonetic Alphabet chart to interpret them.
Most commonly, you’ll encounter “I miss you” using tu, the informal singular form of “you”:
Tu me manques [ty-mə-mãk]
By its very nature, the statement “I miss you” is an intimate one, so you’re less likely to use it with the formal vous in the singular.
However, that doesn’t mean you’ll never hear it. And since vous is also used to say “you” to more than one person (even on informal terms), you might want to say “I miss you” to a group of people you know well:
Click on any of those links to hear the pronunciation of native speakers from around the French-speaking world.
How to Practice Saying “I Miss You” in French
Listen to Popular Music
As an obvious choice for love songs, the expression tu me manques (I miss you) is a common sight in francophone lyrics and song titles.
Listening to these, such as Tu me manques by Canadian-Belgian singer Lara Fabian, is a good way to instill an emotional connection with this expression and get used to how it sounds. This, in turn, will help you to reach for it instinctively when you’re feeling a similar way.
Watch Real-world Videos on FluentU
FluentU takes real-world French videos—such as music videos, movie trailers, news clips and inspiring talks—and turns them into language-learning experiences. Each video comes with interactive subtitles in French and English, plus practice features like quizzes and flashcard decks.
FluentU videos are a wonderful way to practice listening to this expression, not just in the present tense but in all tenses. Just by watching videos, you’ll be exposed to native French speakers using different pronouns to express “missing someone” in different contexts. Plus, the videos provide a great way to work on your overall pronunciation and comprehension.
You can watch music videos like in the example above, or enjoy watching real-life, natural conversations to get you up to speed. For targeted practice, you can even search for phrases like “I miss you” in the search bar to find a list of videos where the phrase appears.
FluentU even offers a free trial, so you can check it out before committing.
Use Online Tests and Exercises to Practice “I Miss You” in French
If you’re a kinesthetic learner, practice tests and exercises can be beneficial, especially when it comes to making sense of the grammar and syntax associated with manquer.
Make use of the internet to improve your handle on “I miss you” in French. You can start with this great exercise over at Study.com.
“I Miss You” and the Great Grammar Breakdown
Choosing the Correct Pronouns to Say “I Miss You”
Now we’ve established that “I miss you” in French means “you are missing from me,” you can take the next step in deciding which kind of pronouns to use and how to use them.
Once you start practicing, you’ll not only be able to say “I miss you,” but also “I miss her,” “We miss them” and even “I miss it”!
As it’s the opposite way around to English, you’re going to need a French subject pronoun to kick things off. Remember, this pronoun represents the person who’s being missed—or in other words, the person who you’re “lacking”:
Tu (you — informal, singular)
Vous (you — formal, or you — plural)
Now, you’ll need to identify the person who’s doing the missing. For this part, you take a French indirect object pronoun (think of it like the filling in the middle of a delicious sandwich, holding everything together):
Te (you — informal, singular)
Vous (you — formal, or you — plural)
Finally, you add the verb manquer to complete this masterpiece! Remember that the conjugation must agree with the subject pronoun you used at the beginning. Let’s look at some examples:
Je te manque (you miss me)
Ils me manquent (I miss them — masculine/mixed males and females)
Tu lui manques (she/he misses you — informal/singular)
Il me manque (I miss him/it)
Saying “I Miss You” Using Different Verb Tenses
Verb tenses are often complicated enough without adding manquer to the mix! But without getting too heavy, we can take a brief look at what “I miss you” in French looks like in different time frames other than the present.
Mastery comes with practice and you may need to deepen your knowledge of French verb tenses and pronouns before this becomes clearer to you. In any case, I’m going to stick to the informal singular form of this expression— tu me manques, to lessen any confusion or brain fog you may be experiencing.
The main thing to remember is that whatever crazy corner of space and time we find ourselves in, the pronouns don’t change (phew!):
Tu me manques (I miss you — present tense)
Tu m’as manqué (I missed you — perfect tense)
Tu me manquais (I missed you/I used to miss you/I was missing you — imperfect tense)
Tu me manqueras (I will miss you — simple future tense)
Modifying Manquer to Express How Much You Miss Someone
Of course, as in English, a simple “I miss you” in French may not be enough to express your level of feeling.
In this case, you can simply add an adverb to modify manquer:
Tu me manques tellement (I miss you so much)
Tu me manques beaucoup (I miss you a lot)
Tu me manques déjà (I miss you already)
Tu me manques un peu (I miss you a little/a bit)
How to Say “I Miss You, Too” in French
Ready to be thrown another curveball?
The positive response to this statement is also reversed! So while in English we’d say “I miss you too,” once again you have to think of it in terms of “you are missing from me too.”
In French, this is:
Toi aussi, tu me manques. (I miss you, too.)
Tu me manques, toi aussi. (I miss you, too.)
Awesome Alternatives to Manquer: Other Ways to Say “I Miss You” in French
If you’re a bit fed up with manquer or just want to spice things up, there are other ways to express “I miss you” in French that state this feeling implicitly:
J’ai hâte de te voir ! (I can’t wait to see you!)
J’ai envie de te voir (I feel like seeing you)
Sans toi, je suis pas bien (Without you, I’m struggling)
Je veux être là avec toi (I want to be there with you)
So now that we’ve gone over the basics, it’s time for you to put what you’ve learned into practice. Now that we have to say goodbye after this lengthy article, there’s just one more question to ask:
Will you miss me?
Sophie McDonald is a freelance content writer with a burning passion for writing and languages. You can find her Twitter page here where she will be most likely talking about writing and languages.
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