Tu and vous are used for three types of you

In French there are two words for you but they cover three distinct cases:

Tu as faim?
Are you hungry?

Vous avez faim? 
Are you hungry?

Vous avez faim?
Are you hungry?

Two singular "you"s

- Tu is used to address someone informally: a friend, a relative or someone close.

- Vous is used to address someone formally: someone older, a superior at work, or just someone you don't know well.

One plural "you"

Vous is also used to address (formally or informally) two or more people.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources


To ask your children, Jean et Aurélie, if they're hungry


Vous avez faim?
Are you hungry?


To ask your friend, Michel, if he's hungry


Tu as faim?
Are you hungry?


To ask your manager, M. Dupont, if he's hungry


Vous avez faim? 
Are you hungry?


Q&A

Ellie

Kwiziq community member

7 March 2019

2 replies

em: why is vous used for you all too?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

8 March 2019

8/03/19

Hi Ellie, 

It is just a particularity of the French language ....

shemida

Kwiziq community member

8 April 2019

8/04/19

vous is used because in the french language vous is used to adress someone formally or as a group of people

Gloria

Kwiziq community member

9 February 2019

1 reply

Please can you explain why Tu is used before a vowel and not T'

Tu aimes 

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

12 February 2019

12/02/19

Hi Gloria,

You will hear-

 'T'aimes ça? 

'T'as faim? 

in every day very informal speech (within a family setting) but normally the Tu would not be elided ...

sinthuja

Kwiziq community member

17 November 2017

1 reply

i have a doubt. which is ''tu as faim''. question or sentence. because you are using in same way.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

17 November 2017

17/11/17

Tu as faim -- You are hungry.
Tu as faim ? -- Are you hungry.

It depends on the intonation; the words don't change.

There are three ways to phrase a question in French:

1) With est-ce que... : Est-ce que tu as faim?
2) With inversion: As-tu faim?
3) With intonation: Tu as faim?

All three are asking the same thing. But with the third option you just use intonation to make it into a question.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

meth

Kwiziq community member

15 October 2017

4 replies

comment ça va ?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

15 October 2017

15/10/17

Bonjour Meth, ça va bien, et vous? Mais, il n'y a pas une question ici? Est-ce que vous avez une question?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

16 October 2017

16/10/17

"Comment ça va" is a bit familiar. You would not, in all likelihood, use it in a situation where you don't know the other person. You would probably use the more formal "Comment allez-vous?". I am not entirely sure if this is what you were trying to ask. Greetings, -- Chris (who is not a native speaker)

Ryan

Kwiziq community member

30 November 2018

30/11/18

Ca va bien

shemida

Kwiziq community member

8 April 2019

8/04/19

ca va bien merci

Denis

Kwiziq community member

21 May 2017

4 replies

Vous avez fatigue?

Denis

Kwiziq community member

21 May 2017

21/05/17

Non, je ne fatigue pas

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

21 May 2017

21/05/17

Bonjour Denis ! To express "to be tired" in French, you will use the verb "être" (to be) as such: "Vous êtes fatigué ? / Tu es fatigué ? - Non, je ne suis pas fatigué." "Je ne fatigue pas." means "I don't tire." I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

Andrea

Kwiziq community member

29 September 2017

29/09/17

Je ai fatigué

Nick

Kwiziq community member

11 December 2018

11/12/18

The french language tends not to like putting vowels in pairs......so it would be J'ai - however it is "I am tired" not I have tired.  So .........Je suis fatigué.

Malcolm

Kwiziq community member

13 January 2017

1 reply

Why do we bother with tu? Most of us are never going to get that close to a French person.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

16 January 2017

16/01/17

Bonjour Malcolm ! Actually, you would also use "tu" when talking to someone younger than you, like a child or a teenager, or a classmate! Plus, speaking as a French woman whose partner is English, you never know what can happen in life :) Better be prepared ! À bientôt !

Charles

Kwiziq community member

6 April 2016

1 reply

Two questions about Tu and Vous

If there's a case that my teacher (or teacher's assistent) is somewhere near my age or we have known each other for a while (usually educators want to be as quick as possible to befriend students during class, so that would be approximately two weeks), should I address them in Tu or Vous? Another case is that what if I've chatted with a person whom I've just met for an hour and after a while I text that person in Tu, would I sound repelling? Merci beaucoup in advance!

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

6 April 2016

6/04/16

Bonjour Charles, When you're not sure, including in both of these cases, just ask "On peut se tutoyer?" This is typically French and the answer will almost always be "Oui!"

rishabh

Kwiziq community member

26 February 2016

1 reply

Can vous be used as 'we' because i hv studied 'on' or 'nous'

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

26 February 2016

26/02/16

Bonjour Rishabh, No, 'vous' can only mean 'you', whether it be a polite 'you' to address one person with reverence, or a plural 'you' to address a group of people. A bientôt !
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