It’s regularly the easiest words that finest illustrate the nuances the language.

You are watching: What does de rien mean in french

Just take into consideration English: there are, in fact, numerous ways to greet someone (hello, hi, good morning), bid taking leave (bye, check out you later) and show gratitude (thanks, give thanks to you).

As portrayed above, there are also many ways to respond to gratitude.

French is the same way!

But when you start learning some French phrases because that “you’re welcome,” they may seem a little strange in ~ first.

How precisely do French paragraph that analyze to “from nothing,” “I pray you for it” or “there is no what” amount to “you’re welcome?” more importantly, what’s the difference between these phrases?

Here, we’ll introduce you come the many options you have actually when saying “you’re welcome” in French, what they each mean and also when you should use them.

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8 means to speak You’re Welcome in French: from Polite to Casual and also Beyond

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1. The many Popular: De rien

De rien is the an initial form of “you’re welcome” ns learned in French class and, because that a lengthy time, it was the just one i knew. This isn’t surprising considering that de rien is the most usual “you’re welcome” phrase supplied in France.

My mom never liked it though since it literally means “from nothing,” which might imply that what you did was inconsequential or undeserving the gratitude. In a sense, that’s true.

De rien is generally offered as a an answer to basic courtesies or familiar favors, favor holding the door open for someone, providing a compliment or frequenting a business. The expression isn’t precisely self-deprecating, yet technically that downplays the action.

We have to be careful not to review too much right into the word-for-word translation, though. Language is much an ext subtle than that, and also literal translations rarely work.

In various other words, return de rien literally means “from nothing,” friend shouldn’t ban it from your vocabulary. Yes, tiny acts that kindness perform matter, and also de rien is generally used and understood in much the same method that “you’re welcome” is in English.


A: Quelle belle robe! (What a beautiful dress!)

B: Merci! (Thank you!)

A: De rien. (You’re welcome.)

If de rien is so popular, why need to you stroked nerves reading about the various other phrases detailed here?

While de rien is fitting for numerous situations, it’s considered informal and also isn’t the best option to usage in a experienced context or when you should make a great impression.

So, if you’re doing business in French or room meeting with someone important, it might be much better to go with a various phrase.

2. The formal One: Je vous en prie

Je vous en prie is the most formal, classic way come say “you’re welcome” in French. This is the phrase to rental in a business setting or when you desire to show someone extra respect.


A: Je vous remercie de m’avoir considéré pour ce poste. (Thank you because that considering me for this position.)

B: Je vous en prie. (You’re welcome.)

Remember how I claimed that literal meaning translations rarely work? Je vous en prie is fantastic example, together its literal translation is “I pray you for it.”

Je is the an initial person singular pronoun, “I.” Vous is the officially or plural 2nd person pronoun, “you.” since vous is being used as a direct object, the goes best after the subject and also before the verb.

En is a pronoun that replaces de (of, for) and also its object in certain sentences. Here, it describes the action which sparked gratitude and amounts to “for it.” Finally, prie is a conjugated type of the verb prier (to pray).

So… how does that mean “you’re welcome?” It absolutely seems like a strange, stuffy old expression from a middle ages court. Technically, it’s a method of questioning permission to do every little thing you go in the an initial place. In a sense, this expression completes the conversational cycle.

It might sound choose we’re over-thinking this, yet it might improve your expertise of the phrase. The cycle begins when a certain need is presented: stop say she on the métro (French subway system). The car is packed, and an older mrs boards.

Next is the action, in this situation offering the woman her seat. Climate comes acceptance and gratitude: The mrs sits and says merci beaucoup (thank you very much).

Finally, girlfriend respond v je vous en prie, i beg your pardon humbly refers to the activity and makes the conversation come complete circle.

Or, it might be taken as a hyper-polite means of requesting the honor of providing up her seat.

In any type of case, friend don’t have to remember every one of that uneven you want esoteric expertise you can bring up later on to win a trivia video game or impress world at a dinner party.

The important thing to recognize is the je vous en prie is the many formal, proper means to convey “you’re welcome” in French.

3. The much less Formal One: Je t’en prie

Does this expression look familiar? Je t’en prie is basically the exact same as je vous en prie. The formal friend pronoun, vous, has simply been changed with the informal tu.

The an outcome is a semi-informal method of speak “you’re welcome.” It’s informal because you usage it with people who you deal with as tu, however it’s likewise formal because it has actually the exact same construction and sense of permission together je vous en prie.

In various other words, it’s an ext formal 보다 de rien but less formal 보다 je vous en prie.

So when exactly would you usage it? Je t’en prie is a great option if you simply want to be extra polite or if her gesture was particularly generous, like providing someone an high value or deeply coherent present.


A: Merci mille fois to water le cadeau! J’adore ce jeu. (Thank you very much because that the present! ns love this game.)

B: Je t’en prie. (You’re welcome.)

4. The Reassuring You’re Welcome: Pas de problème

Here’s one that’s simpler to understand, one that actually deserve to be bring away literally! Pas de problème is simply and directly interpreted as “no problem.”

As in English, this phrase have the right to be offered to reassure her interlocutor the your kind gesture wasn’t one inconvenience to you.

Think about it: when someone goes out of their way to help you, friend might problem that your need expense them your time, or girlfriend may also feel choose you were a burden.

Pas de problème would encourage you no to anxiety over it. Likewise, you have the right to say the to ease the mind of who you’ve helped.


A: Merci de m’avoir attendu. Le train est arrivé en retard. (Thanks for wait for me. The train arrived late.)

B: Pas de problème. (No problem/you’re welcome.)

A similar phrase, pas de soucis (no worries) attributes in lot the exact same way. You deserve to use it to respond come a give thanks to you or come otherwise encourage someone no to be so anxious.

5. The Casual One: Il n’y a pas de quoi 

Unfortunately, this one isn’t therefore straightforward. Il n’y a pas de quoi literally method “there is no what,” which more than likely doesn’t tell girlfriend much around what it in reality means.

The expression derives native il y a (there is), the an adverse particle pas de (no, none) and the interrogative short article quoi (what). In short, it’s ideal to think the it as “there is no reason .”

In sense and also function, it’s comparable to de rien, together it can suggest the appreciation isn’t necessary. Il n’y a pas de quoi is additionally casual, therefore you’d probably reserve making use of it for those basic, day-to-day gestures and avoid speak it in a official situation.


A: Merci pour la pizza. (Thanks for the pizza.)

B: Il n’y a pas de quoi. (You’re welcome.)

You have the right to use it relatively interchangeably v de rien, but this one is harder to say (since it’s longer) and a bit much less common.

Since il n’y a pas de quoi is a bit long, in practice, it’s regularly shortened to a fast ‘y a pas de quoi.

6. The southern French Option: Avec plaisir

French isn’t just about the textbook Parisian French most people learn. The language is talked around the world, and each region has its distinct accent and expressions.

Next, we’ll it is in looking at a few “you’re welcome” phrases details to various regions that the French-speaking world. Because that these phrases, the an essential factor in selecting which to use is not formality, similar to the ahead ones, yet location.

Avec plaisir (with pleasure), for instance, is a common an answer used in southerly France, particularly in Toulouse, but it might sound aer in various other areas.

Fortunately, though, avec plaisir is straightforward, especially for English speakers, due to the fact that it’s almost the exact same as “my pleasure.”

Pay attention, though, because mon plaisir, the straight translation the “my pleasure,” isn’t really offered in French and would sound a little bit strange.

But in southern France, avec plaisir is an enticing choice to diversify your vocabulary and sound much more like a localAvec plaisir kindly conveys the you enjoyed what friend did or were glad come help.


A: Merci to water la lettre que tu m’as envoyé. (Thanks for the letter you sent out me.)

B: Avec plaisir. (With pleasure/you’re welcome.)

7. The Swiss Choice: À votre service

Now we’re top to one of France’s neighbors, Switzerland. Among their regional expressions is à votre service, which way “at her service.”

It might seem a little bit chivalrous, yet it’s a polite method of saying that you were simply doing her duty.

Also, note that since this phrase includes the formal possessive pronoun votre, it’s suitable to usage with civilization you don’t know an extremely well. This particularly makes sense if you’re acting in an main capacity, such as a wait tables at a restaurant or functioning at a hotel.


A: Merci beaucoup! Le dîner était excellent. (Thank you very much! The dinner was excellent.)

B: À votre service. (You’re welcome.)

Most likely, though, you’re feather to travel in Switzerland, not work in the Swiss hospitality industry. But now you’ll recognize the expression if someone uses it to respond come your own “thank you.”

And, you can still rental it yourself if you desire to be extra courteous or practice your Swiss French.

8. The Canadian Option: Bienvenue

Next, we’re turn off to the Canadian district of Québec, wherein a distinct type of French, québecois, is spoken. One of their local phrases is bienvenue.

However, it’s not the bienvenue you’re used to. There’s a great chance among your very first French native was bienvenue, definition “welcome” (as in “welcome to my home”).

While this is indeed a common and certainly advantageous expression, in Québec, the specific same word is periodically employed to interact “you’re welcome.”


A: Merci to water le café. (Thanks because that the coffee.)

B: Bienvenue. (You’re welcome.)

It may seem strange at first, yet ironically, this is almost exactly what we say in English: “you’re welcome.”

Be careful, though; outside that Québec, words is rarely offered in this sense.

In fact, in various other parts of the world, saying bienvenue in solution to merci would seem about as out-of-place together it did come you when you started reading this section.

So… Which perform I Use?

We’ve absolutely opened increase your options for saying “you’re welcome.” adding to her French collection is constantly a plus, however we understand that in the midst of a conversation, you probably don’t have time come run through a perform of possible responses, weigh each one, think about the contextual factors and also finally clear up on the most ideal choice.

When in doubt, simply remember: je vous en prie for formal cases and de rien for informal ones. These two room widely used and also aren’t distinct to a details region.

Still no sure? Formality in French society can be an overwhelming to interpret, but in general, too officially is far better than as well informal.

Je vous en prie may sound over-the-top in particular cases, however it’s much better than potentially offending who by being also familiar.

See more: What Does Kmt Mean In Text Messaging, Chat, Social Media & Slang?

I hope this article has expanded your French horizons.

If it did, let me just say, “You’re welcome.”

Rachel Larsen is a lifelong francophile and also freelance writer who dreams of living in France one day. She’s currently a college student at Moody bible Institute in Chicago. To learn more, visit she LinkedIn page. 

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