How to Say Hi, What is Your Name in French: A Comprehensive Guide

Bonjour! Learning how to greet someone and ask for their name is a great way to start a conversation in any language. In this guide, we will explore various ways to say “Hi, what is your name?” in French. We’ll cover both formal and informal expressions, and provide you with valuable tips, examples, and even regional variations. So, let’s dive in and explore the wonderful world of French greetings!

Formal Greetings:

When addressing someone in a formal setting or with a person you’ve just met, it’s important to use proper French etiquette. Here are a few examples of formal greetings:

1. Bonjour, comment vous appelez-vous?

Bonjour, comment vous appelez-vous?

This is a polite way to greet someone formally and ask for their name. In English, it translates to “Hello, what is your name?” Remember to use the formal “vous” pronoun when addressing someone you don’t know well or when showing respect.

2. Excusez-moi, pourriez-vous me dire votre nom?

Excusez-moi, pourriez-vous me dire votre nom?

If you want to be extra polite, you can use this phrase. It means “Excuse me, could you tell me your name?” It shows that you are being respectful and considerate of the person’s time.

Informal Greetings:

When you’re in a more casual setting or talking to someone you’re already familiar with, you can use these informal greetings:

1. Salut, comment tu t’appelles?

Salut, comment tu t’appelles?

In an informal context, “salut” is a common way to greet someone with a friendly “Hi” or “Hello.” The phrase “comment tu t’appelles?” means “what is your name?” Here, “tu” is used instead of the formal “vous.”

2. Coucou, c’est quoi ton nom?

Coucou, c’est quoi ton nom?

“Coucou” is an even more casual and affectionate way to greet someone, similar to “Hey” or “Hiya.” The phrase “c’est quoi ton nom?” means “what is your name?” and is widely used in informal settings.

Regional Variations:

The French language is rich with regional variations and dialects. While the formal and informal greetings mentioned above apply to most French-speaking regions, there are a few regional variations worth noting:

1. In Quebec, Canada:

Quebecois French includes unique phrases and expressions. To ask for someone’s name, you can use:

Bonjour, comment tu t’appelles-tu?

The addition of “tu” may sound redundant to non-Quebec French speakers, but it is a distinctive feature of Quebecois French.

2. In Belgium:

In Belgium, French speakers often use the phrase:

Bonjour, comment tu te prénommes?

The phrase “comment tu te prénommes?” is a more formal way to ask for someone’s name in Belgium. “Prénommes” is the plural form of “prénom” which means “first name.”

Tips for Pronunciation and Intonation:

Pronunciation plays a crucial role in effectively communicating in French. Here are some tips to perfect your greeting prowess:

  • Practice the French ‘r’ sound, which is produced at the back of the throat.
  • Pay attention to nasal vowels, such as the “on” sound in “comment” and the “un” sound in “prénom.”
  • Vary your intonation to reflect the natural rhythm of the language.


Now let’s take a look at a few examples to see these greetings in action:

Example 1:

Person A: Bonjour, comment vous appelez-vous? (Hello, what is your name?)

Person B: Je m’appelle Sophie. Et vous? (My name is Sophie. And you?)

Example 2:

Person A: Salut, comment tu t’appelles? (Hi, what is your name?)

Person B: Je suis Maxime. Et toi? (I’m Maxime. And you?)

In Conclusion

Learning how to greet someone and ask for their name in French is a valuable skill that helps establish connections and build relationships. Whether you opt for a formal or informal approach, using the appropriate expressions reflects your understanding of French culture and etiquette. Remember to practice your pronunciation and tailor your greetings based on the context. So, go ahead and confidently greet French speakers with a warm “Bonjour, comment vous appelez-vous?” or a friendly “Salut, comment tu t’appelles?”. Happy conversing!

Leave comment