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I had this chat with an online french teacher:

Me: Hey! I am interested to be your student. Do you accept an absolute beginner french student?

Him: Je vous en prie!

As far as i know (since i am a beginner), "je vous en prie" is a more polite way to say "it's you that i should be thanking." It's used when someone thank you and you want to be more polite than just responding with "you're welcome."

Or it could be any else? Please i need an explanation. Thank you

  • I recognize that it looks weird in the way he said it. The basic formula is : Merci --> Je vous en prie ! So I think in this way, he wanted to say that it would be a pleasure for him to have you as a student, so he said je vous en prie like he would say Avec plaisir. But you're right, it has no sense here – Kenichi-san Aug 9 at 9:41
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    It's close to the enthusiastic "By all means!" in English when you are politely agreeing with a suggestion. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Aug 9 at 9:43
  • As a native, I have to say that it really sounds weird here... Is your teacher really a native? – Sharcoux Aug 9 at 12:37
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    @Sharcoux I'm surprised that you find the teacher's answer weird. Je vous prie d'être mon étudiant is quite correct and polite French. – jlliagre Aug 9 at 16:18
  • Sorry, but the answer to "do you accept beginners?" cannot be "Je vous en prie". There is just no way. – Sharcoux Aug 12 at 15:16
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Most of the time, the expression "Je vous en prie" is an answer when you ask something. It is used mostly after a question beginning by the "pouvoir" verb which means "can".

For exemple :

  • Puis-je prendre du chocolat ? / Can I take some chocolate ?

  • Je vous en prie

So in your case, this is exactly what it means : like a more polite way to say "OK".

You can also use "Je vous en prie" when you let someone do something. The most common example is on the public transport. When you see an old person and you want to let him/her sit, you would say : "Asseyez-vous, je vous en prie / Please, take a seat". The use of "Je vous en prie" here let the old person know that it doesn't bother you (and that is quite polite).

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