How to say "How are you?" in French in 23 fun and formal ways

Enquiring about someone’s welfare is an essential part of most languages’ etiquette, and French is no exception.

It’s not just polite, it’s also a great way to keep the conversation going. Even though an answer is not always expected, you should always ask How are you? in French when greeting a friend, a colleague or an acquaintance.

In this article, you will:

  • Learn how to say how are you doing in French in formal and casual situations.
  • Learn how to respond to how are you in French.
  • Discover two fun ways to ask “Comment ça va ?” in French, which will help you to make French friends.
  • Find out about a must-know Belgian particularity regarding “Ça va”.
  • Et bien plus encore…

So I hope you’re doing well, because you’re about to polish your French manners and learn some new vocab. C’est parti !

How to say “How are you?” in French

The most common way to say “How are you?” in French is “Comment ça va ?”, or the short version “Ça va ?”. This is pretty international and used across the francophone world.

The tables below include the most frequently used phrases to enquire about someone’s welfare, both in a formal and casual context. Tout va bien jusqu’à présent ? Alors let’s go!

“How are you?” in French in formal situations

Do you need to learn French etiquette in a work environment or any other formal setting? Keep reading!

Learn French etiquette in a work environment.

English French IPA
How are youComment ça va ?kɔmə sa va ?
How are you doing?Comment allez-vous ?kɔmət‿ ale-vu ?
How are you feeling?Comment vous sentez-vous ?kɔmə vu sɑ̃te-vu ?
How are you doing today?Comment allez-vous aujourd’hui ?kɔmət‿ ale-vuz‿ oʒuɾdɥi ?
Are you well?Vous allez bien ?vuz‿ ale bjɛ̃ ?
Are you doing well?Vous vous portez bien ?vu vu pɔɾte bjɛ̃ ?
All good?Tout va bien ?tu va bjɛ̃ ?
I hope you are doing wellJ’espère que vous allez bienʒɛspɛɾə kə vuz‿ ale bjɛ̃

How are you?” in French slang.

If you love slang as much as we do, don’t miss our extensive list of French slang. Then come back to the table below!

How are you in French slang.

English French IPA
Hey, how are you?Salut, ça va ?saly, sa va ?
Are you ok?Ça va ?sa va ?
Did you sleep well?Tu as bien dormi ?ty a bjɛ̃ dɔɾmi ?
How is it going?Comment tu vas ?kɔmə ty va ?
Everything is smooth?Ça roule ?sa ɾulə ?
On top of things?Ça gère ?sa ʒɛɾə ?
Everything’s flowing?Ça farte ?sa faɾtə ?
What’s up?Quoi de neuf ?kwa də nœf ?
Doing great?Ça gaze ?sa gazə ?
What’s new?Quoi de beau ?kwa də bo ?
Everything’s a breeze?Ça baigne ?sa bɛɲə ?
Is it going as you wish?Ça va comme tu veux ?sa va kɔmə ty vø ?
In shape?La forme ?la fɔɾmə ?

How to respond to how are you

When greeting an acquaintance or a colleague you don’t know that well, “How are you?” is more a formality than a genuine question. You may answer a brief “Ça va”, or just return the question.

However, your francophone friends or relatives are probably genuinely interested in your welfare — if not, don’t waste your time on learning these family members in French! Just kidding! The table below will help you answer “Comment ça va ?”, and you can also have a look at this article on feelings in French.

Respond to how are you in French.

English French (Singular)IPA
I’m good. How are you?Ça va, et toi ?sa va,e twa ?
Not too bad thanks and yourself?Ça va pas mal, merci, et toi ?sa va pa mal, mɛɾsi,e twa ?
I’m fine, how are you?Je vais bien, et toi comment ça va ?ʒə ve bjɛ̃,e twa kɔmə sa va ?
I’m hanging there, thanks.On fait aller, merci.õ fɛt‿ ale, mɛɾsi.
I’m feeling great, thanks!Ça va très bien, merci !sa va tɾe bjɛ̃, mɛɾsi !
I’m a little tired, but good thank you!Je suis un peu fatigué(e) mais ça va, merci !ʒə sɥiz‿ œ̃ pø fatige(ɛ) me sa va, mɛɾsi !
Could be worse!Ça pourrait être pire !sa purɛt‿ ɛtɾə piɾə !
I’m having a great day, thanks!Je passe une super journée, merci !ʒə pas ynə sype ʒuɾneə, mɛɾsi !
I’m in shape, thanks!En forme, merci !ɑ̃ fɔɾmə, mɛɾsi !
Everything is smoothÇa roule ?sa ɾulə ?
On top of thingsÇa gèresa ʒɛɾə
Everything’s flowingÇa fartesa faɾtə
Doing greatÇa gazesa gazə
Everything’s a breezeÇa baignesa bɛɲə
I’m under the weather todayJe suis un peu patraque aujourd’huiʒə sɥiz‿ œ̃ pø patɾak oʒuɾdɥi
I’m a bit stressed todayJe suis un peu stressé(e) aujourd’huiʒə sɥiz‿ œ̃ pø stɾɛse(ɛ) oʒuɾdɥi
I’m great now that you’re hereÇa va bien maintenant que tu es làsa va bjɛ̃ mɛ̃tənɑ̃ kə tyɛ la
Good to see you, how are you?Je suis content(e) de te voir, comment vas-tu ?ʒə sɥi kõtɑ̃t(ɛ) də tə vwaɾ, kɔmə va-ty ?
I’m doing awesomeJe suis en pleine forme/Je pète la formeʒə sɥiz‿ɑ̃ plɛnə fɔɾmɛ/ʒə pɛtə la fɔɾmə
All is wellTout va bientu va bjɛ̃

The Belgian “Ça va”

Belgium is famous for the European parliament, its French fries, its mussels — can you tell I’m hungry? — … and its peculiar way to approve of things. Indeed, while “ça va” does mean “how are you doing” in Belgium, it also means “Ok” or “great”. For example:

  • On se retrouve à 18h sur la Grand-Place ?

Let’s meet at 6pm at the Grand-Place?

  • Ça va, à tout à l’heure.

Ok, see you later.

This rather mitigated answer can be a little unsettling, but if your Belgian boss tells you “ça va” after checking a task, he/she is actually satisfied with your work! More information on European francophone people’s lack of enthusiasm here.

Two fun ways to say “Hi, how are you?” in French

In the US, one of the most iconic ways to say “How are you” is probably our beloved Joey Tribbiani’s “How you doin”. Well, I’m happy to introduce you to two fun ways to say “Comment ça va ?” in France.

1. Les inconnus: “Salut, tu vas bien”

Les Inconnus, Salut, tu vas bien — Full song for context here.

This was a satire of the wealthy society living in the suburbs of Paris: Auteuil, Neuilly and Passy, featuring the famous “bise”. More on this odd French custom here.

Following the success of this song, Les Inconnus wrote another satirical song about the French tax system, with a wink to their already iconic “Salut, tu vas bien” — this time “Salut, TVA bien”, a pun between “Tu vas” and “TVA” (VAT).

2. Brice de Nice: “Ça farte”

You might have heard about the cult movie that brought oscar-winning Jean Dujardin to fame in France: Brice de Nice. In short, Brice is a wannabe surfer who waits for the perfect wave… in the quiet Mediterranean waters of Nice. Every morning, he greets a swimming old lady with Ça farte ?, which has now become a common way to ask “How are you doing” in French.

We hope that “ça farte” after reading this article!

If you are “en forme” and want to keep learning French, enhance your greeting skills with the following articles:

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