5

The normal French translation for please is s'il vous plait. However, this seems like quite a long-winded and formal translation. It doesn't really work too well if you're begging someone to do something; for example:

Please do this now!

Also, with the English verb please, one can easily emphasize the verb by repeating a letter, so as to indicate a strong urging; for example:

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease would you do it?

Does the following French really carry a similar meaning?:

S'il vous plaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit le faire ?

It seems to me that it doesn't really feel the same because s'il vous plait is more of a phrase, and lacks the "punch" of the single verb please.

Is there a better way in French of conveying the English sense of Pleeeeeeeeeeeease at the beginning of a sentence?

  • 1
    You're asking two questions. The title and introduction ask for a shorter expression, but the rest of the question asks for a more emphatic expression. – 200_success Jan 7 '15 at 18:17
5

It's OK to write

S'il vous plaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit

But “S'il vous plaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit le faire ?” doesn't make sense. You could say:

Faites-le. S'il vous plaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit ?
Do it. Pleeeeeeease ?

  • 1
    Or "S'il vous plaiiiiit, faites-le" if you want the SVP at the beginning – niahoo Jan 7 '15 at 15:33
  • Basically, I'd say there's no direct equivalent to the English, though this answer is the closest. I will probably just resort to saying "Pleeeeeeeease" and loaning the word from English. ;-) – Jez Jan 7 '15 at 16:06
  • 2
    @Jez "Pleeeeeeeeease" and "S'il vous plaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit" sound absolutely equivalent to me. French is a little longer, but that's the word, the meaning behind extending the syllable is the same and conveys the same meaning. If you think it's too long, just say the first part faster ;) – Kareen Jan 7 '15 at 17:28
  • 2
    It's definitvely NOT correct. It's a way to play with the language, like when you write awesssssssome. It shows insistence. But if you ask if it's correct, no it's not. "Faites-le s'il vous plaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit ?" shouldn't have an interrogation point. "Pourriez-vous le faire s'il vous plaît ?" is the correct form. – Quidam Jun 28 '15 at 17:16
  • 1
    This feels wrong. Using "vous" (formal) and repeating the letter (very casual) should not go together. Only S'il te plaiiiiiiiit is correct. – Antzi Jun 29 '15 at 12:14
7

One way to get the added emphasis/urgency in French would be by resorting to the different ways of "begging" someone to do something. For example:

  • Je t'en prie (polite begging with the notion of "please" included)

  • Je t'en supplie (a bit more urgent, but the "please" is still probably understood)

  • Je t’implore (serious begging and the "please" is probably not understood)

  • Je te pleure (serious begging, no "please" at all)

Or to stay with a slightly more concise variation of the “please” construction (granted it's LESS, not more concise when repeated), you could get close to the idea of “pretty please” by repeating “S'te plait”:

S'te plaît, s'te plaît !”, like a child begging his/her Mom for candy:

Maman, est-ce que je peux avoir deux bonbons ? S'te plaît, s'te plaît !

  • (+1) pour le S'te plait ! (deux syllabes) qui est la version courte et informelle que recherche vraisemblablement l'auteur de la question. J'aime aussi la version ultra-courte de OldDadou (steup), un peu plus informelle encore. – RomainValeri Jan 8 '15 at 17:12
  • On tutoie sa maman? – Animadversor Apr 16 '15 at 20:38
  • Just when French candies are at stake! @Animadversor – Papa Poule Apr 16 '15 at 21:48
  • @PapaPoule Really? Just for candies? – GAM PUB Jun 28 '15 at 16:29
  • @Animadversor Oui, on tutoie sa maman dans la plupart des familles. Vouvoyer sa propre famille proche n'est habituel que dans certaines classes sociales (ancienne noblesse, autres ?) Je dirais d'ailleurs qu'on tutoie sa maman, mais qu'on vouvoie sa "Mère", puisque d'après mon expérience (certes limitée) ceux qui vouvoient leur famille proche utiliseront aussi les noms plus fomels : "S'il te plaît Maman" ou "S'il vous plaît, Mère" – Law29 Dec 23 '15 at 12:17
5

I would say "steup" but it's casual. Otherwise you have to say "s'il vous plait"/"s'il te plait" !

2

One more:

Siouplait. It sounds informal and quirky, as in replacing 'understood' by 'okey-dokey'.

SVP doesn't really sound long-winded to me, it's 'if-you-please' (or more exactly 'if it pleases you'). If you want to sound polite while not using it, you can use the conditional, same as in English 'Could you give me the salt ?' 'Pourriez-vous me passer le sel ?'. With informal (and slightly incorrect English) 'Can you give me the salt ?' 'Tu peux me passer le sel ?'. Or pedantic-formal 'Would you be as kind, my good Sir, as to give me the salt ?' 'Auriez-vous l'obligeance, Monsieur, de me passer le sel ?'.

2

Is there a better way in French of conveying the English sense of Pleeeeeeeeeeeease at the beginning of a sentence?

Your question seems to contradict the title: you're not asking for a more compact way, you're asking for a more emphatic way; for example,

Faites-le, je vous en prie.
Faites-le donc, je vous en supplie.

As well as more emphatic, there are more formal ways,

Cher monsieur, aurez-vous SVP la gentillesse de le faire pour moi ?

The only example I can think of off-hand, of where I'd lengthen a vowel, is when literally shouting (calling) for help in an emergency:

  • He-e-e-e-e-e-lp!
  • Au secou-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou-r!
  • 1
    @Amphiteóth You're right: Wikipedia's Conditionnel - Demande/Politesse suggests that using the future tense is correct (and more polite than the present tense), and/but that the conditional is even more polite (than the future tense). – ChrisW Jan 7 '15 at 22:02
2

A clever way is to use the imperative form of the verb vouloir followed by the infinitive.

  • Veuillez fermer la porte

  • Veuillez ne pas fumer à bord du traversier

  • Yes that is emphatic; although that is imperative (an order made from a position of power) rather than pleasing (a request made from a position of poverty). – ChrisW Jan 10 '15 at 9:51
0

Or you can use the verb pouvoir indicative.

  • Peux-tu faire ceci?

  • Pouvez-vous faire ceci?

Or with conditional. (More polite)

  • Pourriez-vous faire ceci?

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.