How to Say Please in French: S’il vous plaît and 7 More Polite Phrases

We use “please” all the time in everyday conversation.

Whether you’re asking a friend for a favor or requesting an extension from your boss, a “please” is essential.

The formalities of saying “please” extend to French, too. 

So how do you say “please” in French? 

From the most common phrase for saying “please” to more polite ways to make your requests, here are seven ways to say “please” in French.


How to Say “Please” in French: S’il vous plaît

The most common way to say “please” in French is s’il vous plaît. 

You can use it in pretty much the same way as you’d use “please” in English—to request or ask for something in a courteous manner.

Let’s break it down:

  • s’il is a contraction of si il, meaning “if it.”
  • vous is the formal form of “you” used for politeness.
  • plaît is the third person singular form of the verb plaire, which means “to please.”

So, s’il vous plaît literally translates to “if it pleases you” or “if it suits you.” 

You can use it in nearly every situation. Here are a few examples:

Puis-je avoir un verre d’eau, s’il vous plaît ? — May I have a glass of water, please?

S’il vous plaît, pouvez-vous fournir une mise à jour sur l’avancement du projet ? — Please, can you provide an update on the project’s progress?

S’il vous plaît, pourriez-vous répéter cela? Je n’ai pas entendu. — Please, could you repeat that? I didn’t catch it.

S’il te plaît is the informal version of “please.” If you’re in a casual environment, you can switch to using this form.

You might also see it written as SVP in signs and other written correspondences. 

More Ways to Say “Please” in French

“Please” is a polite word, so I’ve included the polite versions of each phrase below, using vous (formal you). If you’re in a more casual situation, you can switch the phrases to use tu (informal you). 

You can get a better sense of when to use which form by observing native French speakers using the language. FluentU can help with this, through its authentic video-based language program.

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Pourriez-vous — Could you please

The conditional form of the verb pouvoir (to be able to) is often used to make a polite request.

When you use this form, the polite request is implied, but you can also use it with s’il vous plaît. For example:

Pourriez-vous m’aider ? — Could you help me?

Pourriez-vous répéter, s’il vous plaît ? — Could you repeat, please?

Auriez-vous l’amabilité de — Would you be so kind

This is a very formal way to make a request of someone. It can be translated to “Would you be so kind as to” or “Could you kindly” in English. For example:

Auriez-vous l’amabilité de me passer le sel, s’il vous plaît ? — Would you be so kind as to pass me the salt, please?

Je t’en conjure — I implore you

Je t’en conjure is a more intense and emotional way of asking someone to do something. It’s closer in meaning to “I’m begging you”:

Je t’en conjure, ne fais pas ça. — I implore you, don’t do that.

It conveys a sense of urgency or sincerity in the request, indicating a strong plea for the other person’s cooperation or understanding.

An alternative to this phrase is  Je t’en supplie , which also means “I beg you.”

Faites-moi plaisir — Do me a favor

Quite literally, this phrase is asking someone to “Make me happy.” But really, it’s used to ask someone for a favor.

You can use it when making requests that are more personal or informal, like this: 

Faites-moi plaisir, passez-moi le sel. — Do me a favor, pass me the salt.

Cela vous ennuierait-il de — Would you mind

This phrase is specifically asking for someone’s permission to do something. For example:

Cela vous ennuierait-il si je m’assois ici ? — Would you mind if I sit here?

It’s also used to show considerations of the other person’s feelings or preferences: 

Cela vous ennuierait-il de fermer la fenêtre ? — Would you mind closing the window?

Prière — Prayer / Request

Prière in French can have a dual meaning. Primarily, it translates to “prayer” in English, often referring to a religious or spiritual act of communicating with a higher power.

However, in a more formal context, prière can also be used to mean “request” or “please.” When used in this way, it typically appears in written or formal language. For example:

Prière de soumettre votre rapport avant la fin de la semaine. — Please submit your report by the end of the week.

To make a more direct request, you can use prière as follows:

Prière de ne pas fumer. — Please don’t smoke.

Puis-je… — Could I…

Puis-je… in French translates to “Can I” or “May I.” Combine it with a verb in the infinitive form to imply polite requests or inquiries. Here’s an example:

Puis-je avoir un verre d’eau, s’il vous plaît ? — Can I have a glass of water, please?


Add a touch of politeness to your conversations with all these different ways to say “please” in French!

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