After someone says “merci beaucoup”, I would like to respond by saying something equivalent to the English phrase “no problem”. I tried google translate, and it gave me “Pas de problème”, but I'm not so sure this is correct. Is it correct? Are there other informal ways of expressing “you're welcome”?
There are a few main ways to say "you're welcome" in French:
- Je vous en prie / Je t'en prie
I feel this is a little more formal than the others, but is the canonical French response to "thank you". In some sense, it can be equivalent to "don't worry about it".
- Pas de problème
Google translate was right. It is widely used, it's informal and it likely comes from English in the first place.
- De rien
This phrase likely comes from the Spanish de nada. Rien means "nothing", so it could be somewhat analogous to "don't give it a second thought". But shorter and more informal.
Used in Canada, this is the literal translation of "welcome". In other French-speaking countries, it would likely not be understood. This use of bienvenue is an anglicism; its correct use is mostly one of greeting or of appreciation, like when you say, for example, that relief is welcomed.
5If we come to regional languages, let's add one we hear in Lorraine, mainly from older people : Service ! Jul 13, 2012 at 20:49
6My native language is French and I wouldn't have understood that Romain Valeri.– ApplePieJul 15, 2012 at 11:58
6Bienvenue would definitely not be understood in that context in France.– RodrigueJul 15, 2012 at 19:26
1Pas de problème est, je pense, un anglicisme. Jul 16, 2012 at 11:23
4Service ! is very common in the french part of Switzerland also, and not only from older people... Jul 18, 2012 at 6:27
Other ways to answer a "Merci" are:
- "Il n'y a pas de quoi", sometimes abbreviated in "Pas de quoi"
- around Toulouse: "Avec plaisir"
- in Belgium: "S'il vous plaît"
5@rds - I live in Toulouse and Avec plaisir is very common and not formal at all. Jul 16, 2012 at 12:09
5@Otiel - Because friends from other regions find it strange. Jul 17, 2012 at 15:41
2@Otiel : Born and bred in Toulouse and now living north of the Loire I can assure that « avec plaisir » (to be quite accurate /a.ve/ plaisir) is commonly used in Toulouse and sounds strange to northerners even when « avec » is pronouced /a.vɛk/.– NoneDec 10, 2013 at 10:04
3In Belgium, we say “S’il vous plaît” when we hand something to someone, so before “merci”, but I’ve never heard “s’il vous plaît” as an answer to merci.– ÉdouardDec 10, 2013 at 15:06
2@Max:true story: last year, I was on holiday in Portugal. In a small snack-bar in Sintra, one of the waiters heard we were speaking French, so when he brought the dishes, he answered my "obrigado" with a big smile, a wink and a loud "s'il-vous-plait", which surprised me to hear used in the Belgian fashion. We chatted a bit: he had never studied French in school, but had learned it the hard way by working in a restaurant in... Brussels...– GregDec 8, 2017 at 6:58
The usual answer to “merci” in French is “de rien” which has about the same meaning as “no problem” and translates to “it's nothing”.
1Littré says "de rien" is familair language for a depricated ne me remerciez de rien french.stackexchange.com/questions/940/… Jul 16, 2012 at 11:15
The most commonly used is probably "De rien".
Slightly more formal is this one : "Je t'en prie / Je vous en prie"
Your "Pas de problème" is used also, and is more casual.
3I don't think "pas de souci(s?)" nor "pas de problème" are good answers after "merci". I think, they fit better after "excuse-moi". Jul 16, 2012 at 11:16
@rds I guess that as for many casual idioms, it varies quite a lot between regions. Your logic is right, but following it, this it would also invalidate half of the expressions commonly used to communicate any meaning ;-) Am I really at the mercy (Merci) of anyone who's kind enough to hold the door more than one second ? Jan 26, 2015 at 18:31
À l'oral, après merci, en France (St Etienne) j'entends souvent répondre Y'a pas d'soucis.
2I don't think "pas de souci(s?)" nor "pas de problème" are good answers after "merci". I think, they fit better after "excuse-moi". Jul 16, 2012 at 11:09
@rds Yse and no, in my opinion. Merci means Vous vous êtes géné pour me rendre service, it's sort of excuse-moi, you right. So the response Y'a pas d'soucis is understandable. It's common conversation : Merci / Y'a pas d'soucis / Mais merci quand même / y'a pas d'soucis y'a pas d'soucis je t'assure and so on. Sorry for my english (Y'a pas d'soucis).– IstaoFeb 14, 2013 at 7:40
I do use "avec plaisir". I find those one (below) strange even if they are more common. (What follows is just my very personal interpretation).
- "Je t'en prie / Je vous en prie" sound a bit arrogant/posh, like: nooo please, it's ok, don't thank me dear, really, no I insist don't, oh dear...
"Il n'y a pas de quoi" looks absurd, as if we needed a scale to thanks somebody. "No it's not enough, you can't thank me. (It sounds also like #1)
"Pas de problème" or "y'a pas de soucis" is the most common, it sounds like: you did not bother me too much, just a little, but it's ok (but you did...)
"De rien": do fit for guys who aren't able to accept things (good or bad) from the others. "You don't own me anything and I don't own you anything, let's stop talking". (It sounds also like #3)
"Bienvenue" sound from quebec (so, funny), but it provides a warm answer, I like it.
Note that french are still very attach to their old formal way of talking: sometime spontaneity and warmth do make the french uncomfortable. But "avec plaisir" works with anybody, even if it sounds spontaneous and shows warmth it also somehow shows some formal "politeness".
1You seem quite a lot more generous with your last interpretation (to justify avec plaisir) than with any other. If we apply the same (a bit cynical) views on avec plaisir, I can guarantee you that some people will think it sounds hypocritical or some even out-of-place sensual reference... Once again it varies a lot with place and time, so maybe it's sometimes better not to infer too much. Jan 26, 2015 at 18:39
@RomainVALERI interesting, I did not think about that! But what you said, the intonation, is working with any word, you could change the meaning of "merci" or even "salut". But those words, even if we forget about it "de rien" have a clear meaning and (in my view) correspond to different psychological profile.– JinSnowJul 26, 2015 at 18:45
In Northern France, I most frequently hear "Il n'y a pas de quoi", or just "pas de quoi" (more casual).
From simple : "De rien", to more formal: "Pas de quoi" ou "il n'y a pas de quoi", and more polite: "Je vous en prie", "je t'en prie". "Pas de problème" est plus récent et semble importé du sabir globish...