Guide: How to Say “Please Wait” in French

Whether you’re visiting France or simply want to impress your French-speaking friends, it’s always helpful to know how to say “please wait” in French. In this guide, we’ll cover the formal and informal ways to say “please wait” in French, as well as provide you with useful tips and examples. Let’s dive in!

Formal Ways to Say “Please Wait” in French

If you find yourself in a formal setting or interacting with someone you address with respect, you should use a more formal expression to convey “please wait.” Here are some formal ways to say it:

  1. “Veuillez patienter.” This is the most common and polite way to say “please wait” in French. It literally translates to “Please wait” and is widely used in various settings such as business meetings, formal events, or when addressing authoritative figures.
  2. “Attendez s’il vous plaît.” This expression translates to “Please wait” or “Please wait, if you please” and is another polite way to request someone’s patience. It is useful in formal situations where a higher level of respect is required.

Informal Ways to Say “Please Wait” in French

In casual or informal situations, such as conversations with friends or family members, you can use a more relaxed expression to ask someone to wait. Here are some informal ways to say “please wait” in French:

  1. “Attends un instant.” This expression is commonly used among friends and translates to “Wait a moment.” It is a friendly way to ask someone to hold on for a short time.
  2. “Laisse-moi une seconde.” This phrase means “Give me a second” or “Let me have a second” and is often used colloquially to ask someone to wait briefly. It conveys a comfortable and informal tone.

Tips and Examples

Now that you know the formal and informal ways to say “please wait” in French, let’s explore some additional tips and examples to enhance your understanding:

1. Non-Verbal Cues:

In addition to using the right expressions, it’s important to be aware of non-verbal cues when requesting someone to wait. Maintain eye contact, use a calm tone, and adopt a patient demeanor to convey your message effectively.

2. Expressions for Urgency:

When the need for someone to wait is urgent or immediate, you can use specific words to convey the urgency while still maintaining politeness. You might say:

“S’il vous plaît, attendez-moi rapidement.” – “Please wait for me quickly.”

3. Regional Variations:

French is spoken in various regions around the world, and different regions might have their own variations or dialects. However, the expressions mentioned in this guide are widely understood and accepted throughout French-speaking areas.

4. Additional Polite Phrases:

Besides saying “please wait,” using other polite phrases can enhance your overall communication in French. Some examples include:

  • “Excusez-moi du retard.” – “Excuse me for the delay.”
  • “Je vous prie de bien vouloir patienter.” – “I kindly ask you to wait.”

5. Cultural Context:

Keep in mind that cultural context plays a significant role in how requests are perceived. French culture values politeness and formality, so using the appropriate expressions will go a long way in your interactions.


Let’s conclude with some examples that showcase the usage of the previously mentioned expressions:

  1. Formal:

    At a business meeting:
    Person A: Veuillez patienter, je vais chercher le dossier.
    Person B: Bien sûr, prenez votre temps.

  2. Informal:

    During a casual conversation with friends:
    Person A: Attends un instant, je vais chercher mes clés.
    Person B: Pas de problème, je t’attends ici.

By using these expressions and following the tips provided, you’ll be well-equipped to handle various situations where you need to request someone to wait in French. Remember, mastering the art of politeness will not only enhance your language skills but also contribute to positive social interactions. Bonne chance!

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Written by Jennie Carla

Bonjour! I'm Jennie! For me, 'Le Monde est un livre, et ceux qui ne voyagent pas n'en lisent qu'une page.' Yes! I am an avid traveler and passionate linguist. Perhaps, my posts have already disclosed my fiendish love for French language. I spend my time playing ice hockey, admiring daffodils, sipping Champagne, cherishing the beauty of 'deep purples' and 'seasons', and of course, cliff jumping. Sharing my knowledge of French pronunciation, nuances, and conversations is my passion. Every time I'm not exploring or writing, you'll find me cherishing a cup of 'Thé' with a good book on the side. Au revoir.

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