say-goodbye-french

Beyond “Au Revoir”: 10 Ways to Say Goodbye in French Like a Native Speaker (With Examples and Context)

How do you say goodbye in French without sounding like a broken record?

Au revoir… au revoir… au revoir…

If you want to fit in better with the native speakers and sound more natural when speaking French, it is important to learn other ways to say goodbye.

In this post, I will show you 10 super useful words and phrases to cover everything from “see you later” in French to telling someone goodbye forever.

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Handy Tools to Practice Saying Goodbye in French

Think you already have some French goodbyes down pat? Want to test yourself after reading the article below? These online exercises will help you out.

Beyond “Au Revoir”: 10 Ways to Say Goodbye in French Like a Native Speaker (With Examples and Context)

Here are 10 ways to say goodbye in French, starting with the most formal to the most casual.

1. Adieu (Farewell)

Adieu is not a French goodbye to be taken lightly or used often. It is highly formal, and it has a sense of finality. Steer clear of this one unless you never plan on seeing the person again or one of you is on your death bed.

You will get the idea from the song “Adieu” by Cœur de pirate, which is about a cheater getting very seriously dumped.

2. Bonne journée / Bonne soirée (Have a nice day / Have a nice evening)

Use these expressions at the end of a conversation as you part ways with someone for the day or night. You might use this when leaving a shop or after chatting with a colleague you ran into on the street.

Both of these expressions are relatively formal but used quite often by native French speakers. The formality can be increased by adding Monsieur, Madame or Mademoiselle to the end of it.

You will most likely also follow this up by saying “au revoir.” This is not considered to be overkill, and indeed is a requirement for polite interactions!

3. À plus tard (Until later)

In its full form, à plus tard is a somewhat formal French goodbye. Note that the final “s” of plus is not pronounced.

However, there is a shortened, more casual version—you can simply say à plus. This is basically the English equivalent of “see you later” in French. In this case you do need to pronounce the final “s.”

4. À bientôt / À tout à l’heure (See you soon)

These casual expressions are very similar. À tout à l’heure, however, does suggest that you are going to see the person at some point later today, whereas à bientôt could mean you will see them later in the week, for example.

5. À demain (See you tomorrow)

Simple! This one is great to use at the end of the day with those you see regularly at work or school.

6. À la prochaine (Until next time)

In the same vein as the literal translation of au revoir (until we see each other again), à la prochaine indicates that you plan on seeing the person you’re talking to again in the future.

…So do not use this one for people you would like to avoid.

7. Salut! (Bye!)

Whether you use it as a greeting or a way to jump ship, salut is an adaptable expression that can be used to say goodbye in a somewhat casual manner.

Note that salut is also a casual way to say “hi” in French, as you can hear in the song “Salut” by Joe Dassin.

8. Ciao! (Bye!)

I know what you are thinking: ciao is not French, it is Italian!

Those clever French are not above borrowing phrases from other languages, though, which is why French has many borrowed words from English. Ciao is a great way to say “goodbye” to friends of any language.

You will particularly hear native speakers use this one at the end of a phone conversation.

9. Je m’en vais (I’m outta here)

If it has been a long night at a party with friends, and you are heading off in your own direction, this one is a great way to make an exit.

10. Je me casse / Je me tire (I’m off )

Both of these mean the relatively the same thing, but they are more colloquial than number nine, and they will be considered somewhat offensive in polite company. So, user beware!


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