Is it polite to thank someone by saying that they are “utile”?

I want to say the equivalent of “You were very helpful, thank you”. But I'm wondering whether “Vous êtiez très utile” is too blunt, coming off like “You were very useful”, as if they were a tool.

I'm not sure about the nuance of “Votre aide m'est utile” too. Is it a polite way of thanking someone for their helpfulness, or just a way of telling them that I find them useful to me?

  • 4
    Calling smeone other than yourself utile makes it sound like they are a tool, a slave or a henchman to you.
    – Fatalize
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 9:12
  • 1
    Most of all, it sounds very unFrench.
    – GAM PUB
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


It depends on the context, but in general it is better to avoid that.

You can say, for your particular case:

  • Merci pour votre aide précieuse: Thank you for your precious help
  • Votre aide m'a été utile: You have been helpful

But utile can be used positively in French language:

  • Bonjour, puis-je vous être utile?: Hello, can I help you?/do you need help?

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