Lots of context:

  • My partner's stepfather is seriously ill and the prognosis doesn't look great.
  • I want to send flowers to his mother and stepfather. I don't want to be intrusive, but I do want to help them in any way I can. I have experienced great suffering and I know what it's like firsthand to go through a parent's serious illness.
  • His mother is a French woman from French Brittany, which is why I'm writing in French. I also need to send this through a courier and want to be privée.
  • I have not met his parents yet. They likely do not know I exist, and my partner is a very private person. I want to keep our relationship ambiguous to his mother; they can talk about it themselves.
  • We are young, if that contextualizes it. Just out of college. His parents are too young for this to be happening.
  • The father is still alive at this time and I am not supposed to know it's this bad. I have inferred this based on context.

This is what I came up with, after etiquette checking with a linguist colleague. I was wondering if you all could help further. I don't want to offend or impose more stress on the family in this time.

Bonjour (ou bonsoir) Mme. ABC,

Je m'appelle XYZ. Je suis la copine de votre fils DEF. Je suis désolée d'entendre que Mssr. ABC est tombé malade. J'espère qu'il retrouver la sante bientôt.

Si je peux vous aider de n'importe quoi façon, j'en suis pret. Je suis ravie de le faire. J'ai achété ces fleurs pour vous et Mssr. ABC.

Je sais que vous avez trop de choses en tête en ce moment. Je suis à votre service.


By the way, I am considering this bouquet:

Le Magnifique

Roses, lisianthus and asters in a modern, sophisticated display.

...in case anyone knows about les fleurs appropriate for a French family in this time.

  • More than a french, question, I see an IPS one.
    – dna
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 8:15
  • damn too long to edit : precisions : I don't see myself sending flowers to the parents of my girlfriend who don't even knows me yet... In fact, you don't send flowers to people you don't have met yet. Did your boyfriend knows about this ? If you do this without your boyfriend knowledge it's a big no-no. And if your boyfriends knows about it, and how you fell, that's the time to 'meet the parents', and then you can send flowers.
    – dna
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 8:23

1 Answer 1


I reword a little your original post :

Mme. ABC,

Je m'appelle XYZ et je suis la petite amie'copine' is a bit familiar, you say that when you talk about your new girlfriend to your friends. In this case I'd prefer used 'petite amie' which is more neutral and suitable de votre fils DEF. Je suis désolée d'apprendre que votre conjoint replace 'conjoint' by 'mari' if they are married est tombé malade. J'espère qu'il va se rétablir le plus rapidement possible.

Sachez que je suis disponible pour vous aider de n'importe quelle façon que ce soit.

Bon courage dans cette difficile épreuve.


I delete J'ai achété ces fleurs pour vous et Mssr because it's obvious !

Note that copine or petite amie is not ambiguous. It's clear that your have a relation together, even new.

And for opinion on flowers, I don't have the required knowledges but a florist can easily advise you.

  • Is <<petite amie>> really less familiar than <<copine>>? I was under the impression that it was more informal but also less ambiguous. Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 15:56
  • It depends. You say petite amie when you want it's official and you'd prefer used copine when it's a new relationship, you don't know if this relationship will continue... But in both case, it's absolutly not ambigous.
    – SF_user
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 16:01
  • what about <<une amie de ton fils DEF>> and they can discuss/insinuate from there? don't want DEF to get mad that I'm also dropping our relationship on them Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 16:50
  • 1
    @rabbitrabbit you can say « Une amie de votre fils ». You have to be formal, since you don't know her. Then, saying « une amie » will be ambigous and would mean you are just friend. But the context says you are more than friend (of best friend), since you are being very kind with his mother (you wouldn't write a letter and offer flowers to the mother of a common friend).
    – Random
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 17:12
  • oops - totally right on « votre fils », that was a typo (my FR teacher in HS would be so mad right now... I only got a 3 on my AP haha, pauvre Madame) Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 17:28

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