Learning how to ask “how are you” in French is one of the most basic questions you can ask someone. It shows you’ve reached a point in your learning where you start taking others into account as opposed to just worrying about yourself.
The goal of this article is to help you get to a point where you can ask someone how they are no matter who they are or what situation you’re in. Let’s get into it…
Using comment allez-vous ? to ask how are you? in french?
Comment allez-vous ? – How are you? (How goes you?)
Comment allez-vous ? is probably the most formal way of asking “how are you” in in this list. When translated literally comment allez-vous ? means “how goes you?”. This isn’t by any means the most popular way of asking someone “how are you”, but seeing as you’re learning French you’ll hear it very often either in French class or in textbooks designed for French learners.
Overall this is pretty safe phrase to use because although it’s more on the formal side of things it’s definitely better to be too formal in any given situation than not formal enough. You aren’t really going to offend someone by being too formal, but you can absolutely offend someone by being too informal. Having this said, you can safely avoid using this one with anybody you consider family or friends.
Using Vous allez bien ? to ask how are you? in French
Vous allez bien? – Are you doing well? (You go well?)
Vous allez bien ? is closely related to comment allez-vous ? because it contains some of the same words (vous and allez) and pretty much means the same thing. When you translate this one literally you get “you go well?” which in a way assumes that the person may already be doing well. If someone uses this one on you and you aren’t actually doing well you can just say so.
Using Comment vas-tu ? to ask how are you? in french
Comment vas-tu ? – How are you? (How goes you?)
Because comment vas-tu ? uses tu instead of vous it’s naturally going to be more informal than comment allez-vous ? for example. Having this said you can think of comment vas-tu ? as the formal informal way of asking someone how they are. If you are really on good terms with someone you may be more likely to use another one of the informal uses on this list as there’s no requirement to be formal or show a high level of respect.
The good thing about this one however (contrary to some other uses on this list) is that it comes across as more genuine meaning that you actually care about how the other person is doing. As we move down the list some of the methods turn away from actually caring about how someone else is doing and turn more to being greetings or ways to say hi.
using tu vas bien ? to ask how are you? in french
Tu vas bien? – Are you doing well? (You go well?)
Tu vas bien ? is just like vous allez bien ? in that it asks someone how they are with the pretense or hope that they may already be doing well. Of course if someone uses this on you aren’t doing well you are more than welcome to say so.
using Ça va ? to ask how are you? in French
Ça va ? – How’s it going? (it goes?)
Using ça va to ask someone how they are in French is actually extremely common. You may very well hear this one more than any other one on this list. When you translate it literally you get “it goes?” so if you’d like you can think of this one as “how’s it going?”
It’s absolutely informal so if you are with someone that you are supposed to be showing respect such as a professor or boss than avoid using this one. If you’re with family or friends however by all means use this one as much as you want.
The only other thing that should be said about this one is that for the most part this is one that people often use without really caring how the other person is. Once you get a feel for how this one is used in the real world you’ll almost feel obligated to just say that you’re doing well and then ask them how they are because you’re obligated to do that as well.
Using comment ça va ? to ask how are you? in french
Comment ça va ? – How’s it going? (How it goes?)
Comment ça va is almost just as common as ça va and really just means the same thing. By adding comment to it you change the literal meaning from “it goes?” to “how it goes?” There’s no real difference between the two as far as their actual meaning goes however.
Using quoi de beau ? to ask how are you? in French
Quoi de beau ? – What’s up? / What’s new? (What’s beautiful?)
This is one that would probably fall into the realm of slang. Quoi de beau ?, when you translate it literally, means “what’s beautiful?”. This may not make a whole lot of sense in English, but all it really means is “what’s up?” or “what’s new?”.
Using quoi de neuf ? to ask how are you? in french
Quoi de neuf ? – What’s up? / What’s new? (What’s new?)
Quoi de neuf ? can be considered a variation of quoi de beau ?. This one makes a little more sense when you translate it literally as it translates to “what’s new?”. You can absolutely still translate it as “what’s up?” though.
using comment vous sentez-vous ? to ask how are you? in french
Comment vous sentez-vous ? – How do you feel? (How do you feel yourself?)
Comment vous sentez-vous ? is a little bit of a variation on “how are you” as its meaning is more of “how are you feeling?” (literally translated it means this too). You would want to use this one if you are maybe a little concerned about someone.
You can say this knowing that something unfortunate may have happened to the person such as them falling ill or encountering some other type of difficulty. You can also say this one as comment vous vous sentez ? which of course is slightly less formal than comment vous sentez-vous ?.
Using Comment te sens-tu ? to ask how are you? in French
Comment te sens-tu ? – How do you feel? (How do you feel yourself?)
Comment te sens-tu ? (also said as comment tu te sens ?) is basically just the informal version of comment vous sentez-vous ? seeing as it uses tu instead of vous. Use it with people you know well and don’t need to show a certain level of respect.
Using Ça Gaze ? to ask how are you? in French
Ça gaze – How’s it going? / What’s up?
Ça gaze is one of the most informal ways to ask someone “how are you” on this list. You probably won’t hear this one very often and depending on your age you may not want to use it at all as it’s most common among teenagers and young adults. Having this said, you may just surprise some French speakers if you know it as it’s typically not something taught in French classes or in textbooks.
Using Ça baigne ? to ask how are you? in french
Ça baigne ? – How’s it going? / What’s up? (It bathes?)
Don’t even try to make sense of this one as it literally means “it bathes?”. It’s actual definition however is more like “how’s it going?” or “what’s up? This is another very informal way of asking how are you in French so only use it when the situation warrants it.
Using ça roule ? to ask how are you? in french
Ça roule ? – What’s up? / How’s it going ? (It rolls?)
This one is yet another very informal way of asking how someone is and can also be thought of as “how’s it going?” or “what’s up?” Literally ça roule ? means “it rolls?” so you can think of it like you’re asking someone if things are still rolling along.
Learning how to ask “how are you” in French is one of the basic building blocks that’ required to achieve fluency. I hope that with this article you’ll now be prepared to ask someone how they are no matter the situation you’re presented with.