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I've learned that at the end of a letter to a friend it's appropriate to write Bises, (name) or Bisous, (name). e.g. between two female friends writing each other

What is the difference in the usage of “Bises” and “Bisous”?

Is one of them more common or used more by children or in a very familial context?

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    There is no difference, really. Bisous is little kisses, and bises is kisses. In terms of translation. Bisous is more afectionate. – Lambie Feb 23 '17 at 16:48
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Bises usually means kisses on the cheeks and is the kind of closing you write to someone you precisely kiss that way in real life (family, close / female friends, female colleagues). This kind of kiss is usually quite formal and not real kisses. People just touch cheeks to each other and kiss the air a specific number of times, usually two but can be one, three of four depending on the region.

Bisous is more friendly and affectionate, and are real kisses where the lips touch the skin. Bisous is generally used when writing to children or between lovers.

There are many people for whom I might end a postcard with Bises or Grosses bises but who would be very surprised if I wrote instead Bisous or Gros bisous.

  • Thanks. This really helpful and exactly the kind of "getting a feeling" for the use of these terms I was looking for. :-) – Kaadzia Feb 27 '17 at 7:50
  • Is it reserved only for lovers to say "bisou bisou" in a p2p text? I am asking it here since otherwise would be labelled as a duplicate, I am afraid. – Sathyam Mar 16 '18 at 15:24
  • @Sathyam Not sure what exactly you mean with "p2p text". Bisou bisou (more often bisous bisous) is not reserved to lovers but imply some intimacy. – jlliagre Mar 16 '18 at 16:44
  • @jlliagre Merci, p2p - Peer to Peer. – Sathyam Mar 19 '18 at 13:20
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Bisous is for very close people like family / girlfriend...

Young french people say la bise to their friends at the end of their messages

I've never seen Bises without la in a message

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    Interesting. I always see bises sans la :-) – Frank Feb 23 '17 at 16:43
  • I mostly use "Bises" without "la". To me, "La bise" is more slangy. Both "Bises" or "La bise" are fine anyway. – Mat Jan 10 at 15:18

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