You have just fulfilled a favor and the recipient says, Merci Beaucoup, which is French for, thank you.
You may wonder what you should say in return. As much as it warms your heart the person appreciates what you did, not knowing how to respond can create an awkward moment for you and the person.
Responding to someone who says Merci Beaucoup isn’t difficult as long as you can speak English. Knowing that the words mean thank you is the first step towards deciding the best response.
In this article, you will learn different ways to respond, even if you don’t speak French.
Table of Contents
Thank You, Don’t Mention
This is a common response when someone thanks you for doing them a favor. You can say this in response to Merci Beaucoup.
Likely the person understands English and is only trying to be exotic by speaking a foreign language.
But if you are in France and you feel like it’s appropriate for you to speak French in return you can say, merci, je t’ en prie.
Which means, thank you, don’t mention. In many countries in Africa for example, many can speak French. In Canada there are folks who speak French too.
If you are in any of these territories of the world, arm yourself with this response to the kind people there.
I’m Pleased To Be of Help
This is also a common response in English that you can say to someone who says thank you in French. Saying this to someone means it was no trouble for you to do what you did.
For you, kindness is a way of life. And since you are not French or don’t speak the language, you want to say it in English.
For those who don’t know how to speak the language, French may not roll off their tongue as fluently and beautifully as it would with a native.
The French person would appreciate it if you spoke the language back. But if you live in Illinois for example, replying in English is accepted.
If you would like to attempt French, just say, Je suis heureux de vous aider. It’s a mouthful, yes. So maybe just stick with English.
It’s Nothing, Really
So you are at the grocery store and you have just helped someone with their stuff and they’re effusively showing appreciation. And they’re speaking french to you. The person has just said Merci Beaucoup.
Perhaps you don’t think what you did requires going to France for. You can just answer them in English if you don’t know french since merci beaucoup is a popular phrase even those who don’t know french say.
C’est rien, vraiment, is what you’d say in french. Remember that french has different rules of pronunciation from English.
If the person who says Merci Beaucoup to you is a stranger, it is an opportunity to make new friends for you. You can ask them to teach you how to say the words right in french.
You can always make an attempt to speak some French. Or you can simply say, it’s nothing, really, if the person insists you are such an angel.
It Was A Pleasure
This response is appropriate even for an English speaker. You may have figured that out by now. It is also recommended for when someone says Merci Beaucoup.
This response is another way of letting the person know you do this for a living, so to speak. You take out time to help out when you can. In fact, it brings you pleasure to make others happy by helping them.
You can say this response especially if the person in question is a senior that you helped cross the street, or a kid you helped escape a renegade stray dog.
It could be just about anyone and the response would be appropriate. The French speaker would say, Ce fut un plaisir.
You’d soon learn French is a musical language as you try to say these words. It could be worth it if you have the patience. But stick with English for an easier life.
I’ll Do It Again
Here, you smile, shrug, and tell the person that you’ll do it all over again if the opportunity presents itself. And hopefully, he or she understands the words.
But let’s just say the person who says Merci Beaucoup speaks English but only wants to make your day by showing just how appreciative they are for what you did.
People often do this, that is, they switch languages in conversations. Some do this to show off the fact that they know more than one language.
Others just love the nuances of languages like French. This is one thing you can’t take from the French language; beautiful nuances, and inflections.
Words sound better when said in French. So, say, I’ll do it again, to someone who thanks you in French. And if you would like to say the words in french, say, je le referai.
If you say it right, you just might get a high from the Frenchman or woman.
You can respond with this one word and accompany it with a smile. It’s short, and straight to the point.
Also, it is an appropriate word in English that you can reply to someone who says thank you in French.
You don’t have to say it in French. Both English and French are popular languages spoken in many countries outside the country of France.
The response, anytime, is a beautiful word of confidence and assurance. It is a word you say to assure the recipient of your goodness that what happened wasn’t a mistake. You’d help them anytime they ask.
The most appropriate circumstance to say anytime is if the person is someone you are familiar with, not a stranger.
The word suggests that they can call you up to help them move their stuff, fix their broken plumbing and so forth.
If you would admire to speak this word, anytime in french, here it is: à tout moment or en tout temps. As you may know, many French expressions depend on the context.
You can say this in response if you have no qualms about being helpful to strangers. Especially strangers who know French.
This response is a polite way of telling the person they don’t have to fret. Some folks are deeply respectful of others.
They’d spend a considerable amount of energy and time trying to show how touched they are by your good deed. It doesn’t matter how little it is. They’d profusely show gratitude.
On the other hand, there are those who find being thanked repeatedly embarrassing. Folks like that would like to let you know it’s not a problem for them to do kind deeds.
In French, No Problem is translated, pas de problème or sans problème. The response is better given with a smile, a pat on the shoulder, or any other gesture you feel is appropriate for the moment.
Americans use this terse, monosyllabic word to respond to thank you a lot. If you are American, and the other person is too, perhaps you want to get things rolling along fast by simply telling the person, sure.
The thing about this response is, if you come from a culture where people are more expressive, you may consider it a rude and dismissive one.
Be assured though, that the French love fast American ways. So if the person is a native French man or woman, they’d only be amused when you give this short answer.
If the person merely understands French then he or she may not express confusion. But a native speaker may wonder what you mean when you say sure in reply to merci beaucoup.
The French speaker would hardly say sure, as a reply. The language seems to lack the context for a sure that’s standing alone. For this reason, you shouldn’t bother about a French version of the word.
This is a variation of the previous response. It is also an American way of saying it’s nothing or my pleasure. It means it really cost him or her no trouble to do what he did.
Or he didn’t consider the price to be too much to pay. It didn’t even matter if he missed his bus trying to help out. It also seems to mean that he’d do it again if given another chance.
That’s why it’s a sure thing, that is, be assured there’s more where that kindness came from. So if someone says merci beaucoup to you, say, sure thing. Or in french, chose sûre.
This is the most popular response to the English thank you. It is a universal response. Since merci beaucoup means thank you in English, it is only appropriate to include this option here.
This phrase is as old as the phrase it is meant to reply to. It is used all over the English-speaking world. If you don’t speak French, you might at least know what merci beaucoup means.
Replying with you’re welcome is appropriate. This response needs no context for it to fit in. And it’s not likely that it won’t be understood by even a French native. In the French language, you’re welcome is de rien.
This response had to be slipped into this list. Because it is a legitimate response if you do not know even a single vocabulary of French.
When this happens the genuine response is to ask the speaker what he or she is saying. Hopefully, the person speaks English too.
Say again is a phrase Americans or many English speakers use when they need you to repeat yourself. It is a veritable little phrase in the English language, an atrocious contraction of the sentence, ‘can repeat what you just said, please?‘
Since you would say this because you don’t know French there’s no need to translate it into the language. Just ask the question, and get your answer if possible.
Watch your tone though in case the speaker understands English. Say again can be said threateningly.
Oh It’s Alright
You can respond this way when the person is someone familiar and the circumstance is informal. This is a casual way of responding to merci beaucoup. It is used mostly among buddies or close friends.
The tone usually makes this conclusion correct. You say it with a dismissive wave of the hand, and a smile. You are saying in other words, what are friends for?
And here too you don’t have to reply in French. You can just let the speaker know you.
It Was The Least I Could Do
This is a common expression that means you are happy to do what you did, or that you are willing to do it.
You are not forced nor did it cause any inconveniences for you. Usually, doing something for someone takes a measure of sacrifice.
Yet, we use this expression because we’d rather not take too much credit. It is a polite way of accepting thanks from someone you helped.
The French don’t have a colloquial expression that shares this sentiment. You can let me know in the comment section if there’s any expression in French that I missed.
Finally, you can actually reply by saying thank you. Even if there isn’t something to thank the person about at that point in time.
The sentiment behind saying thank you back is, we all have reasons to be thankful for. We have all had the help of others at one time or the other.
Responding with thank you also show that you are modest. Especially if the other person is being effusive while saying merci beaucoup (merci beaucoup is an effusive way of saying thank you).
To avoid an awkward moment, you don’t have to say merci beaucoup in return.
When replying to someone who says merci beaucoup, be respectful in tone, in gestures. Also, you can say nothing if merci beaucoup was said in a text.
You can reply with an emoji and move on with texting. In a physical conversation, you can smile and say nothing. Your expression can be enough to show you accept the thanks.