Home Advice 6 Easiest Ways to Say “How Are You” in French

6 Easiest Ways to Say “How Are You” in French

by Gabe Wood
Father and adult son hug at an outdoor family get event. The father has a gift under his arm.

If you’ve learned how to say “hello” in French, then you’re ready to take the next step in basic conversation with the phrase, “how are you?” 

It seems like a simple question, but with the French language’s flair for formality, it’s important to know how to phrase the question based on the person you’re talking to and the nature of the conversation. Choose the right way to phrase it, and you’ll have more control over how well your question is received! 

Below, we’ll go over different ways you can say “how are you?” in French, as well as replies you can give if someone asks the question of you.

How to say “how are you” in French

These phrases will have you covered for most daily interactions, whether they’re businesslike or casual.

If you write any of these phrases, include a space before the question mark. In French, you will need to put a space before certain punctuation, such as question marks, exclamations points, colons, and semicolons. This is known as une espace insécable, or “a non-breaking space.” 

1. Comment allez-vous ?

Many people who don’t speak French are still familiar with this phrase. It’s a common way to say “how are you?” that fits in a wide variety of situations. It’s also formal and polite, so it’s appropriate to use with people you want to be respectful toward, such as a boss, an elder, or an authority figure.

2. Comment vas-tu ?

This is an informal version of comment allez-vous ?, ideally used to greet friends, family, and people you know well. You can tell it’s informal because, in French, tu is used in casual conversation while vous is primarily used with acquaintances or as a sign of respect

3. Comment ça va ?

This is another informal way to say “how are you?” that loosely translates to “how’s it going?” Like with comment vas-tu ?, you should use this with people you already know well.

You can also shorten this to just ça va ?, which makes it even more informal. If you say ça va ? you will likely not get a detailed reply, and the usual response to this is to just say ça va (“it goes”) back. If you really want someone to tell you how they’re doing, use comment vas-tu ? instead.

4. Vous allez bien ?

This formal phrase roughly translates to “are you well?” If you want to ask this informally, you’d say tu vas bien ? instead.

5. Comment vous sentez-vous ?

This means “how are you feeling?” It’s a phrase that can be a good choice if you know the person you’re talking to was sick or struggling with some issue. The informal version is comment tu te sens ?

6. Ça roule ?

When you’re talking to someone you’re close with, you can use this colloquial phrase which translates literally to “it rolls?” It’s fun, casual, and can also be used to ask how a specific task is going. Like with ça va ?, people often respond to this by just saying ça roule back.

How to reply to “how are you” in French

If you find yourself on the receiving end of “how are you” in French, here are several replies you can give. One thing to keep in mind is that, in formal situations, it’s customary to keep your answers positive. When speaking informally, you can be more candid with your responses.

It’s also polite to ask the other person how they’re doing after you answer, if you haven’t done so already. You can do this by saying et vous ? (“And you?”) in a formal situation, or et toi ? in an informal one.


  • Bien, merci = Good, thank you
  • Très bien, merci = Very good, thank you
  • Je vais bien, merci = I am doing well, thank you


  • Ça va = It goes
  • Ça va bien = It goes well
  • Ça va très bien = It goes very well
  • Pas mal = Not bad
  • Comme ci, comme ça = So-so
  • Pas terrible = Not great
  • Ça roule = It rolls

Express yourself with Rosetta Stone

These phrases can help you get started in a conversation, but if you want to go deep on how someone is really doing, you’ll need to know more French than just the basics. Let your family, friends, and the rest of the world know what you’re feeling with Rosetta Stone!

Instead of memorizing vocabulary and phrase lists, immerse yourself in a language using audio from native speakers and real-world images. Plus, with short 10 minute lessons that you can complete on the web or using our app, Rosetta Stone easily fits into your schedule. Visit rosettastone.com to get started in French today!

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