yes-in-french

21 Ways to Say Yes in French (That Aren’t Just “Oui”)

Why is it so important to learn different ways to say “yes” in French?

Well, think about how important the word is in English. You need to be able to say “yes” to affirm when things are true.

If “yes” is such an important part of English, you can imagine that it’s an important part of French too.

You may think that you know how to say “yes” in French, but there are actually tons of ways to say it!

Don’t get stuck saying oui (yes) all the time. Learn how to say “yes” like a true Frenchie with this post!

Contents

1. Ouais

This is the French equivalent of “yeah,” and you would use it in similar situations. 

Tu es fatigué? (Are you tired?)
Ouais, c’est trop tôt. (Yeah, it’s too early.)

Ouais is extremely common and you will hear most native French speakers use it more than you would probably hear oui (like how most English speakers say “yeah” more than “yes”). Ouais is a bit more informal so it’s best to keep that in mind when conversing in more formal situations.

2. Ouaip

This is another common form of oui that is more like “yep.” 

Es-tu prêt à partir? (Are you ready to leave?)
Ouaip. (Yep.)

This is also a bit more informal.

3. Bah Oui

Another more informal way to say yes is bah oui. This form doesn’t translate exactly, but the best way to describe it is almost like “well, yeah.”

Tu aimes ton travail? (Do you like your job?)
Bah oui, c’est bien payé. (Well, yeah, it’s well paid.)

4. Mouais

Another informal way to say “yes,” but in a way that demonstrates a lack of enthusiasm or a bit of uncertainty is mouais (um, yeah). Here are a few examples:

As-tu aimé le film? (Did you like the film?)
Mouais, mais pas trop. (Um, yeah, but not too much.)

J’ai fait la connaissance de Leonardo DiCaprio hier soir! (I met Leonardo DiCaprio last night!)
Mouais, je ne suis pas trop sûre. (Um, yeah, I’m not so sure about that.)

Note how the first example shows a lack of enthusiasm and the second shows that the speaker is not convinced of what they’ve just heard.

5. Si

In French, if someone uses a negative to refer to something and you need to respond “yes,” you use si (actually, yes).

This concept might be a little difficult to put into practice at first, as we don’t use a separate “yes” to contradict in English.

This is how si comes into play:

Tu n’aimes pas le cinema, n’est-ce pas? (You don’t like the movie theater, right?)
Si, je l’adore! (But yes, I love it!)

Tu n’est jamais visité les États-Unis, n’est-ce pas? (You never visited the United States, right?)
Si, j’y suis allé l’année dernière. (Actually yes, I went there last year.)

It’s important to note that si is also used in French to say “if.” Be careful not to confuse the two meanings when you’re using this word.

6. Mais oui

This is a way to say yes but with a hint of attitude. You use mais oui (of course) when you may be a bit annoyed, almost like saying “obviously” in English. 

Est-ce que tu aimes cette chanson? (Do you like this song?)
Mais oui, je te l’ai déjà dit trois fois! (Of course, I already told you three times!)

This is very informal and definitely can come across as rude or condescending, so be careful who you say this to!

7. Ben oui

The other form of the annoyed “yes” is ben oui (well, yes).

This is similar to mais oui in the way that it holds a rather sarcastic tone.

Tu as besoin de porter ton manteau. (You need to wear your coat.)
Ben oui, il fait froid. (Well, yes, it’s cold.)

Once again, you want to be cautious of when you use this phrase.

8. Ouah!

Ouah is French for “yes” when you’re extra happy and enthusiastic. You could translate it as “Yes!” or “Yay!”

Ouah! J’ai été accepté à Brown! (Yay! I was accepted into Brown!)

Ouah! J’ai gagné le prix! (Yes! I won the prize!)

9. D’accord

When you want to sound casual or nonchalant, simply use d’accord (okay). This is used the same as “okay” is used in English, so it can just affirm something without an expected response.

Je vais arriver à 5h 30. (I’ll get there at 5:30.)
D’accord. (Okay.)

10. Ça marche

 This is how you would say “that works.” This is another rather casual way to affirm something, but may not be totally informal.

Nous pouvons prendre un café cet après-midi. (We can grab a coffee this afternoon.)
Ça marche. (Okay, sure, that works for me.)

11. Ah oui?

Whether you want to emphasize your surprise or are truly in disbelief, you’ll need to use Ah oui? (Really?).

Here are a couple of examples:

J’ai quitté mon travail. (I quit my job.)
Ah oui? (Really?)

Nous allons aller au Costa Rica pour la lune de miel. (We’re going to go to Costa Rica for our honeymoon.)
Ah oui?
(Really?)

12. Parfait

This translates directly to “perfect,” and you can use it to affirm something with enthusiasm.

Nous pouvons partir à 10 heures. (We can leave at 10 o’clock.)
Parfait!
(Perfect!)

13. Exactement

This means “exactly,” and you typically use this if you are agreeing that what someone says is true.

Tu n’aimes pas les gens qui parlent beaucoup? (You don’t like people that talk a lot?)
Exactement.
 (Exactly.)

14. Certainement

Certainement (certainly) is also used in situations where you are affirming something with confidence.

Pourriez-vous nettoyer la cuisine, s’il vous plaît? (Could you clean the kitchen, please?)
Certainement.
 (Certainly.)

15. Tout à fait

To be literal, this expression means “everything to be done,” but it is basically used to say “absolutely.”

On devrait avoir une fête! (We should have a party!)
Tout à fait!
 (Absolutely!)

16. Avec plaisir

This is how you say “with pleasure” to express that you will do something happily.

Peux-tu promener le chien? (Can you walk the dog?)
Avec plaisir
 (With pleasure!)

17. Bien sûr

You will likely hear this term often, as it means “of course.”

Tu veux venir au musée avec moi? (Do you want to come to the museum with me?)
Bien sûr!
 (Of course!)

18. Évidemment

This one can be a bit sarcastic as it means “obviously.” You usually use it when you expect something to be known by the other person.

Tu veux un dessert? (Do you want dessert?)
Évidemment!
 (Obviously!)

19. Voilà

While this term can be used in a variety of contexts, when it is being used to affirm something, it takes on the meaning of “that’s right.”

Alors, tu ne veux pas habiter avec moi? (So, you don’t want to live with me?)
Voilà.
 (That’s right.)

20. Absolument

This is yet another (more literal) way to say “absolutely.”

Devrions-nous prendre le train? (Should we take the train?)
Absolument!
 (Absolutely!)

21. C’est ça

This literally means “that’s it” and can also be one more way to say “that’s right.”

C’est votre maison? (Is that your house?)
C’est ça!
 (That’s it!)

 

Now that you know of the many different ways to say “yes” in French, it is all about the practice! 

Listen to native speakers and their different ways of affirming. Try using some of these different words in your own speech, instead of just using oui every time. 

Challenge yourself to incorporate new words of affirmation every time that you practice your French speaking, and you will become a “yes” master!

 

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